At Fluidra Accelera, the finishing touches are being put on the market launch of Moodify, a virtual assistant that proposes sensory circuits customised to fit the mood of the person using the pool, sauna, shower or spa. We spoke with its creators to find out how the interface is being developed. An advance version for professionals will be launched at the 2019 Piscina & Wellness Barcelona fair this October.
A year and a half has passed between the initial concept for Moodify and the first proof of concept. In that time, its creators, engineers Nuria Cornejo and Xavier Saumell, have had to overcome numerous hurdles to validate their project. Noteworthy among them are standing out at Innovation Week, presenting their idea to a theatre audience, shining again after the incubation period and giving a catchy pitch to top executives at Fluidra Group, the company they work for.
“After the three- or four-month incubation process at Fluidra Accelera, we had to get through a screening process. Our pitch to the committee featured dynamic prototypes that played with a webcam and changed the ambience, like a Hollywood film. The project fit with what they were looking for and, not long after, they told us that Fluidra believed in us and wanted to offer us resources,” explains Saumell, remembering the day that the leading company in the pool and wellness sector announced their confidence in the start-up.
Today, Moodify has been integrated into a Fluidra element, which looks like a small box and features innovative hardware that can control parameters such as lighting and music in the room, the aroma diffuser system and the water sequences. The interface, which will have an advance launch at Piscina & Wellness Barcelona in October, tells the user how to follow the circuit using Alexa, Amazon’s smart speaker: “The sensation is similar to being in a private spa. Alexa guides you and tells you, for example, to relax on the sofa for five minutes, just like a professional would,” says Cornejo. “Moodify also lights up devices when it is time to use them,” adds Saumell.
This way, to take a revitalising, energy-boosting or relaxing dip, the user no longer has to change the settings on each device individually. All you have to do is indicate your mood, manually or with spoken commands, and say how you want to feel at the end of the session. Moreover, Moodify proposes pre-set ambiences in 20-minute sessions, called pills, and creates unique sequences that can be shared with other users.
Extending emotions to the pool
To understand emotions and take them to the aquatic world, Nuria Cornejo and Xavier Saumell have worked with a wide variety of professionals, including an expert in colour therapy, to create the colour sequences; and a psychologist who specialises in music therapy, who has generated new music and sound tracks, with singing bowls, nature and animal sounds.
According to the team, they are ready to validate the first proof of concept at a sports centre in Barcelona. This will give them first-hand feedback on how users experience Moodify, so they can correct any details that need it, further strengthen the elements users like and decrease power use in areas that are less noticeable. “It allows us to assess where to channel our efforts,” reflects Cornejo.
This will also allow them to discover, for example, whether users would find it fun or useful for Moodify to incorporate artificial intelligence. This is an aspect that is planned for the future, but hasn’t yet been developed due to the cost it entails, both in terms of development and licensing technology. In this case, after the user has granted consent, Moodify would be able to detect the user’s mood based on how they use their phone, agenda, geolocation, calendar or smartwatch. With this information, Moodify could propose, for example, a refreshing dip on a hot day or a revitalising shower after a workout session.
The data Moodify would obtain is highly valuable for interpreting the user’s behaviour in a commercial pool and will encourage different types of uses. “A teenager inviting friends to use their parents’ pool on a Saturday afternoon before going out isn’t the same as someone arriving home from work and wanting to go for a dip before bed on a summer night. The idea is to give the pool different functions,” concludes Saumell.
An enriching project
For Xavier Saumell and Nuria Cornejo, this time working at Fluidra Accelera is allowing them to grow professionally and giving them in-depth knowledge of the main stages a project must go through before hitting the market. They admit that one of the most interesting aspects is working with the Agile method, a project-development system that allows them to observe how the project changes after validation with users, the market and internally, in the Fluidra Group.
Plus, as Saumell explains, they are highly aware that their time at Fluidra Accelera could be life-changing: “If Moodify works, we could possibly set up a business that we would be a part of. If not, wherever we go we will take this highly useful learning with us for the future stages of our professional careers. So, we unreservedly encourage our colleagues to participate in the next Innovation Week.”