Core77 Design Awards
- Other Years
Symphony Classroom is the first digital classroom assistant built specifically for teachers. It is designed to simplify the work of teachers and to more naturally use the technology available in their classrooms. It consists of an Artificial Intelligence hub which contains speakers, a remote control and an AI software platform custom built for the unique needs of education and the privacy and security needs of schools.
With more and more technology being introduced to the classroom, educators need simple ways to manage the tools at their disposal. Otherwise, tech can be forgotten or unused. Symphony Classroom allows educators to control multiple devices, including the teacher's own laptop, from anywhere in the classroom.
Symphony Classroom consolidates control over all your hardware, media devices and storage, as well as introducing many new AI capabilities and proprietary software to support teachers in their classrooms.
In Symphony Classroom, the digital assistant is called Merlyn, an AI agent designed specifically to help teachers. Merlyn can be controlled by voice or by using the hub's remote and has pioneered the use of AI in K–12 classrooms for students as young as first grade.
Some of the technology Merlyn may access: files and presentations on your laptop, Apps on your laptop, servers or off site servers, lessons on google drive, you tube videos, and basic functions such as timers, time and weather. Merlyn Mind is also currently working with third party software developers to develop proprietary apps designed specifically for the platform.
Teachers in K–12 education face increasingly high rates of burnout, and many have chosen to leave the profession altogether. While there are many reasons for this, the struggle to balance new technologies and multiple teaching modalities amid an ongoing pandemic unquestionably contribute.
Pandemic-inspired technology will continue to permeate classrooms. In many ways, these advancements in educational technology will benefit educators and students by providing new opportunities and expanded experiences. For those facing high stress levels and near burnout, however, the idea of any new technology may be more daunting than it is exciting. Instead of being overwhelmed with more tech products, educators returning to the classroom need the right tools to help them manage challenges.
Digital assistants, powered by artificial intelligence and driven by interoperability, provide a way to bridge the gap between combating burnout and implementing advanced technology. These assistants have the potential to make technology more accessible for teachers while giving them the time and support they need to connect with their students on a social-emotional level. Merlyn Mind Symphony Classroom, empowers K–12 educators with voice and remote control responsiveness.
Symphony Classroom was designed specifically to simplify a teacher's life by making access to technology much easier. It relieves the stress of accessing multiple points of technology, makes the user much more time efficient, and allows for much greater access to educational information than what is normally encompassed in a classroom.
Merlyn Mind is a startup company, and symphony classroom is their first product. Their first product is the first of its kind in the educational space, and is positioned to have a groundbreaking effect on how teachers access technology in the classroom. We wanted the design to reflect the functionality of the product, as a combination of AI technology and audio product, and also reflect the overall brand values of the company of simplicity and elegance. This product also sets the design language for future products, and had to have strong identifying factors, without being over-designed.
Being a classroom tool, much exploration was given into the design language of the classroom. We decided in the end, that the innovation being introduced, and the sophistication of the technology should be reflected in the final product so that both educators and students would perceive the product as a sophisticated learning tool.
The X pattern on the front grill, with sweeping lines that vanish at their convergence point, was metaphoric of the basic functionality of the product, which brings together many products and services and converges their control into 1 seamless access point. We also liked the fact that the original working name of the company was Xio, and the X was a reminder of their roots.
Symphony Classroom was acoustically designed to achieve voice clarity and output high-fidelity sound in a classroom. To achieve a dB level that was acceptable to every student in a room, the design team had to develop the placement of acoustical drivers and shape the baffle to allow the dispersion of mid and high frequencies throughout the room, and to meet the requirements of achieving a 92dB low distortion sound level with 180 degrees of dispersion.
The control panel on the top of the unit contains a 7 microphone array that utilizes digital signal processing to be able to locate the direction of the person speaking to it. The design of the control panel had to harmoniously blend with the surrounding surfaces so that the sound waves entering the microphone holes would not reflect sound or disrupt the sound waves, which could cause errors in the readings between the microphones.
The remote control design includes an air mouse and a built in microphone. A lanyard makes it easy to hold. Attention to the smallest detail, including how the battery cover removes, reflects the care and thoughtfullness given to the engineering functionality.
Die cast legs were developed for strength, and to give the product a strong, metaphoric foundation (Symphony Classroom is the foundation for building a strong but simple technology based teaching platform)
Symphony classroom was designed to be mounted in various locations, including above a monitor, on a desktop or cart, or wall mounted.