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The ideation process started with a brainstorming session. The brainstorming session included a discussion about problems of the studio space which each team member discovered through the previous individual discovery process. 

The problem that we identified is that the studio is an interactive learning space, students come here to study, chat and learn. But sometimes workload and deadlines can get stressful. 

How might we help MII-PS student feel re-energized during times of stress? 

We thought about the idea of an interactive music station. The initial idea was a music station situated in the kitchen (a relaxing area for MIIPS students) for us to play music freely with our body and hand gestures. Play music alleviates emotions, and we want everyone, regardless of their musical experience and knowledge, be able to create music individually or collaboratively with friends. 

Inspirations & Precedents

Video of a K-POP musician making music - "[I Live Alone] Henry Singing 'Uptown Funk'



After the initial dry run of the presentation, we received valuable feedback from the judges, which helped us push our ideas further and re-evaluate the key elements and value propositions of Harmoniiize. We carefully thought about how to leverage data to provide meaningful values to the users, and came up with the idea of connecting Harmoniiize with the collective mood data of MIIPS student. 

Why music?

During our first ideation/brainstorming session, our team had a consensus on music being the most effective and accessible method of stress relief for ourselves. We believed that listening to music and creating music provide a therapeutic effect during the time of mental distress. We confirmed our experience and hypothesis through secondary research on music's effect on us, and we found the concept of "catharsis" of music particularly appealing. Catharsis refers to "the process of releasing and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions" (Cambridge Dictionary). Music provides us with a channel to express the emotions and thoughts that cannot be conveyed through words and allows us to feel the "vicarious emotions" associated with the music. By listening to or creating music that suits the mood and state, we find freedom and relaxation.

One of the judges during the final presentation suggested that there are research studies around improving productivity; creating intentional interruptions in workflow and engaging other creative activities are proven to help enhance the performance. 

Why connected? 

We observed the behavior of students in the MIIPS cohort around musical experience. We noticed that a lot of students, as well as non-MIIPS students peers, share the music they are listening to or that they enjoy on social media. Many of those who know how to play musical instrument post videos of themselves practicing or playing music and share with friends. At a larger population scale, SoundCloud is the most prominent online platform for anyone with musical interests and talents shares their musical production and collaborate with other musicians. However, filming videos or recording the music, editing and sharing currently is a messy process. We saw this as an opportunity for Harmoniiize; Harmoniiize automatically uploads the recordings of music improvised through the gestures to the communal SoundCloud to which anyone has access to for listening, sharing on social media, or collaborating.

In addition, we realized that there is an interesting intersection between Harmoniiize and two other projects in the IoT class ecosystem, Feel-O-Meter, and Bump. The connection with these two projects would potentially enhance the connected experience of the students in the studio as a whole. The further explanation is provided in the next section.

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