Smartphone Powered Robot DJ "Shimi" Premieres at Google's I/O Conference

By Chelsea Whyte on June 27, 2012 11:49 PM EDT

shimi robot
Shimi plays your music and dances along with you. (Photo: Georgia Tech)

Researchers at Georgia Tech's Center for Music Technology have injected a little fun into robotics with their newest creation. Their one-foot-tall 'Shimi' robot is a smart-phone enabled DJ that gets into the music with you.

True to its name, Shimi dances to the beat. Docking your iPhone or Android into the robot allows it access to your music library, where it can pick the music to pump up your party. Shimi can read body language, so all you have to do to let it know you don't like a song is shake your head in front of it.

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Shimi also uses the phone's camera and face detection software to follow a listener around the room and position its speakers for optimal sound.

And unlike some stingy human DJs, Shimi takes requests and can shuffle to a tune more to your liking just by 'listening' to a beat you tap out on a table or clap to the bot.

"Shimi is designed to change the way that people enjoy and think about their music," said Professor Gil Weinberg, director of Georgia Tech's Center for Music Technology and the robot's creator.

He will unveiled the robot at Google I/O conference in San Francisco. A band of three Shimi robots strutted their stuff for guests, dancing in sync to music created in the lab and composed according to its movements.

Shimi is essentially a docking station with a "brain" powered by an Android phone. Once docked, the robot gains the sensing and musical generation capabilities of the user's mobile device. In other words, if there's an "app for that," Shimi is ready.

"Many people think that robots are limited by their programming instructions," said Music Technology Ph.D. candidate Mason Bretan. "Shimi shows us that robots can be creative and interactive."

Future apps in the works will allow the user to shake their head in disagreement or wave a hand in the air to tell Shimi to skip to the next song or change the volume, reports TG Daily.

"I believe that our center is ahead of a revolution that will see more robots in homes, bypassing some of the fears some people have about machines doing everyday functions in their lives," Weinberg said.

Weinberg is in the process of commercializing Shimi through an exclusive licensing agreement with Georgia Tech. New start-up robotic toy company Tovbot announced plans to sell Shimi to consumers in 2013 for an undisclosed price, reports CNET.

Check out Shimi's moves in this video:

© 2012 iScience Times All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

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