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Baidu and Teenage Engineering Join Forces for Dancing Smart Speaker

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An extremely cryptic product teaser has been released for R, a dancing smart speaker that is one of the fruits of a recent collaboration between Chinese tech giant Baidu and Teenage Engineering, a Swedish music technology company.

While the minute-long clip does little in terms of formally introducing the product, the teaser shows that Raven — the name of the recently acquired Baidu subsidiary working on the project — has been able to accomplish a complex engineering feat many have failed before them: creating a dancing robot that actually looks life-like.

While most simply know Baidu as the “Google of China” because of the company’s comparable search, navigation, and cloud storage tools, their accomplishments in the field of Artificial Intelligence research have up to now gone relatively unnoticed, something that the company’s latest line of smart speakers and their upcoming voice cloning technology promise to change.

Baidu’s Newest AI Can Clone Your Voice in Seconds

And while over the years, Teenage Engineering has become a household name among producers and electronic musicians because of their legendary OP-1 mini synthesizer, this collaboration with Baidu on a household smart speaker will definitely expose a larger audience to the relatively niche company.

So far, relatively little has been announced about R, but if even a portion of the features packed into the collaboration’s recently released first product H make it into the emotive smart speaker, consumers will have plenty to dance about.

Combining Alexa-like voice controls with specially designed music sorting algorithms, H is able to take non-standard user requests, such as “play me something soft,” and produce results instantly. In addition to standard searching inquiries powered by Baidu, H can also be linked to other smart home devices by at least nine other companies, promising to offer users a smart home driven entirely by voice.

While the only Raven products that have been officially announced since the Baidu acquisition have been smart speakers, the website promises many more items will be available in the future, entering Baidu into direct competition with fellow Beijing-based tech giant Xiaomi on the smart home front.

Top image from raventech.cn

Kadallah Burrowes
    Kadallah is a new media artist specializing in virtual reality. He's based in Shanghai, where he creates projects for museums and clients, but travels around China speaking and educating people interested in emerging media forms. You can find him on Instagram @kadallah_

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