Royal Caribbean Introduces SoundSeeker, an A.I.-Equipped Sharing Tool, with Help from BerkleeICE
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but what if it were possible to hear what a picture sounds like? In a move that will redefine the modern vacation album, Royal Caribbean International has designed and built a first-of-its-kind tool that transforms travelers’ most memorable photos into an original, shareable soundtrack with a video to match. More than a year in the making, SoundSeeker™ is a groundbreaking, patent-pending digital experience powered by artificial intelligence (A.I.). The innovative tool is specifically designed to use machine learning to seamlessly create original soundtracks based on the content of each photograph.
By simply visiting the SoundSeeker website, users can upload three photos, and the A.I. analyzes them based on color, landscape, backdrop, emotion, body language, and facial expression. SoundSeeker then turns them into a shareable and one-of-a kind soundtrack—virtually DJing life’s most brag-worthy moments. Fans can follow along on Royal Caribbean’s social channels, and by searching #SoundSeeker.
“SoundSeeker is the latest proof point of Royal Caribbean innovation and how we focus it on delivering unexpected, memorable experiences, whether that is the SkyPad, which uniquely combines bungee jumping with virtual reality, or live-streaming your favorite shows from the middle of the ocean using VOOM, the fastest internet at sea,” said Jim Berra, chief marketing officer, Royal Caribbean International. “People of all ages crave new ways to share their best experiences on social media. This unprecedented tool allows you to put a completely unique, multisensory spin on sharing those memories. Now friends and followers can see and hear your life’s adventures.”
Royal Caribbean teamed up with experts from Berklee and technologists from around the world to create the song generator. Berklee leveraged music theory to create a roadmap for the tool that helps determine the musical pairing to photos, accounting for pitch, tempo, and instrumental combinations, among others. The contributors from Berklee’s Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship (BerkleeICE)—an on-campus initiative that promotes entrepreneurialism in part by engaging Berklee students and faculty with emerging creative technologies—included Electronic Production and Design Chair Michael Bierylo, associate professors Ben Houge and Michael Sweet, and assistant professor Jean-Luc Sinclair.
“We were excited to work with Royal Caribbean International on this new technological innovation, and in the process, redefine what creative collaboration means," said Panos A. Panay, Berklee vice president for Innovation and Strategy and managing director of BerkleeICE. “The work of BerkleeICE expands our students’ definition of what can be accomplished with music education by pushing the boundaries of creative expression utilizing technology. By harnessing A.I. to develop customized soundtracks for treasured memories, together, we have created a new way for people to share their experiences with one another.”
SoundSeeker uses machine learning, an artificial intelligence technique that enables computers to simulate human intelligence and make decisions on their own without explicit instructions. The learning process entailed more than 600 hours in which Royal Caribbean and a team of musicians and technologists reviewed hundreds of music tracks along with 10,000 photos, matching each of the 2.5 million combinations to one of 10 moods.
The A.I. in SoundSeeker uses Google Cloud Vision to identify objects, facial expressions, and colors in a user’s photo by referencing the roadmap developed by the leaders in music theory at Berklee. SoundSeeker then finds the musical elements corresponding to each mood in the photo to compose a genuinely distinct audio and visual photo album. The Royal Caribbean tool is equipped to generate over one million unique tracks, based on custom base tracks, composed exclusively for the cruise line. The customized tracks take inspiration from a wide variety of music, including 90s hip-hop, rock, modern, and electronic dance music.
SoundSeeker is the latest in a long line of technological advancements introduced by Royal Caribbean. Boasting a nearly 50-year legacy of innovation, the global cruise line has pioneered a number of technological firsts, including: SeaSeeker, a custom-engineered scuba mask for Snapchat Spectacles; VOOM, the fastest internet at sea; virtual balconies, giving interior rooms a view; RFID technology, cocktails served by robots at the Bionic Bar; and a mobile app that boasts smart features like expedited arrival and X-ray vision into behind-the-scenes areas of the ship, such as the navigational bridge. Royal Caribbean continues to evolve its ships and experiences—on board and on land—to excite the most tech-savvy travelers, most recently introducing Symphony of the Seas in March 2018, a bold composition of the cruise brand’s most outstanding features and digital innovations.