StreetWise is a human-powered smart speaker system for use in public emergent-user settings. After asking a question, the user receives a code, which can be entered after 10 minutes to receive a human answer.


Human-driven question answering systems have been deployed by digital service providers for many years. Take for example, text-based approaches such as online forums or Q&A boards, as well as audio-based services such as Question Box, Google Neighbourly or IVR systems like the Spoken Web. While machine powered smart-speakers are rapidly increasing in popularity and reach, it is the value and richness of human-curated question responses that inspired us to develop StreetWise; a people-powered question and answer system for use in public emergent user settings. There are two elements to the StreetWise design: the local installation (with which the users interact), and the cloud-based back-end (which provides crowd-sourced answers).

Try it

StreetWise's hardware specifications, code and accompanying app are available on GitHub.

All aspects of StreetWise are open-source, licensed under Apache 2.0

User Interaction

The StreetWise human-powered public smart speaker. To use, first push and release the device’s button (1), and ask a question (2). The system then speaks to confirm the question and displays a 4-digit code which the user either remembers or writes down (3). After a short delay of 10 minutes (4) the user can return to the machine and enter their 4-digit code (5). The machine then plays the human-curated response to their original question.

Additional Resources

This work was funded by EPSRC grant EP/M00421X/1