Meloread is an app makes reading more engaging in a generation where reading is in competition with online entertainment. Entertainment sells an overall experience, so in order to introduce a better experience to reading and make it more enjoyable Meloread analyzes the webpage text (e.g. a news article or ebook) and plays mood-relevant music to the text. It is a Chrome extension programmed in JavaScript and jQuery and utilizes the IBM Watson Tone AI in order to determine the theme and mood of a text. Music is sourced from YouTube’s no-copyright Audio Library.

Students need an incentive to enjoy reading, and this app needs to be simple enough to use for young adolescents so they too can enjoy reading instead of playing video games or watching YouTube. Thus, our app is stripped of all options and consists of only one button that activates the app to scan the text and play music. Everything is done automatically so there is nearly no input required, making it easily accessible to children whose attention are easily grasped by animated characters.

What inspired you (or your team)?

There are 32 million illiterate adults in the United States, a developed region where education is paramount. Many of these adults live in poverty, unable to find employment and cannot vote with an understanding of the candidates and the platforms they stand for. In addition, students need an incentive to enjoy extracurricular reading in a generation absorbed by video games, Netflix, YouTube, and social media. We found that this was an important issue to tackle because we anticipate that literacy levels or the ability to read more advanced texts will decrease due to an increasing amount of parents who simply hand their kids a tablet with entertainment on it rather than children’s books or puzzles. Our goal is to target those still in school while they are young in order to promote reading so that when they grow up they can be the next generation of more informed American citizens.