Experts at Georgia Tech’s Center for Music Technology have developed a musical robot, Shimi. Based on listener feedback, Shimi can suggest songs and also dances in sync with the beat. Measuring just 1 ft in length, this smartphone-enabled, entertainment robot is designated as an interactive ‘musical buddy.’
The robot is essentially a docking station, where an Android phone powers its brain. After being docked, the robot attains the potential to sense and produce music as well, using the operator’s mobile device.
Based on the face-detecting software and the phone’s camera, the robot mimics the listener in the room, and positions its speakers in an ideal position for optimal sound. The robot can also recognize with the help of rhythm and tempo. It observes the tap or beat sound of the listener and predicts the user’s preference. Based on the recommendation, Shimi plays the song by exploring the phone’s musical library. Shimi dances to the rhythm, soon after the music starts playing.
Future apps will enable the user to signal with their hands or to shake their head in disagreement, through which Shimi will be alerted to increase/decrease the volume or play the next song. Based on the user’s song choices, the robot will also be able to recommend new music with feedback on the music play list.
The process of commercializing Shimi is being carried out by Professor Gil Weinberg, the robot’s creator and director of Georgia Tech’s Center for Music Technology, via an exclusive licensing agreement with Georgia Tech. Tovbot, a new start-up company, has been established. Customers can have access to Shimi by the 2013 holiday season.
Directed by Professor Guy Hoffmann, Shimi was developed in association with the IDC Herzliya-based Media Innovation Lab. Robot designer Roberto Aimi and entrepreneur Ian Campbell also helped in designing Shimi.
Following its predecessors, Haile (percussionist), Shimon (marimba player), Shimi is the third robotic musician developed at the Center for Music Technology.