Musical robot companion enhances listener experience (w/ Video)

Jun 26, 2012
Shimi, a musical companion developed by Georgia Tech’s Center for Music Technology, recommends songs, dances to the beat and keeps the music pumping based on listener feedback.

(Phys.org) -- Wedding DJs everywhere should be worried about job security now that a new robot is on the scene.

Shimi, a musical companion developed by Georgia Tech's Center for , recommends songs, dances to the beat and keeps the music pumping based on listener feedback.

The smartphone-enabled, one-foot-tall robot is billed as an interactive "musical buddy."

"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 unveil the robot at tomorrow's I/O conference in San Francisco. A band of three Shimi robots will strut its stuff for guests, dancing in sync to music created in the lab and composed according to its movements.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.
This Shimi Band will debut at the Google I/O conference on Wednesday, June 27th in San Francisco.

Shimi is essentially a 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.

For instance, by using the phone's camera and face-detecting software, the bot can follow a listener around the room and position its "ears," or speakers, for optimal sound. Another recognition feature is based on rhythm and tempo. If the user taps or claps a beat, Shimi analyzes it, scans the phone's musical library and immediately plays the song that best matches the suggestion. Once the music starts, Shimi dances to the rhythm.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.
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. Shimi recommends songs, dances to the beat and keeps the music pumping based on listener feedback.

"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 alert Shimi to skip to the next song or increase/decrease the volume. The robot will also have the capability to recommend new music based on the user's song choices and provide feedback on the music play list.

Weinberg hopes other developers will be inspired to create more apps to expand Shimi's creative and interactive capabilities, allowing the machine to leave the lab and head into the real world.

"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. A new start-up company, Tovbot, has been formed and Weinberg hopes to make the robot available to consumers by the 2013 holiday season. Shimi was developed in collaboration with the Media Innovation Lab at IDC Herzliya and led by Professor Guy Hoffmann. Entrepreneur Ian Campbell and designer Roberto Aimi were also part of the Shimi team.

This is the third robotic musician created by the Center for Music Technology. Haile is a percussionist that can listen to live players, analyze their music in real-time and improvise with music of its own. Shimon is an interactive marimba player.

"If robots are going to arrive in homes, we think that they will be these kind of machines - small, entertaining and fun," Weinberg said. "They will enhance your life and pave the way for more sophisticated service robots in our lives."

Explore further: Future US Navy: Robotic sub-hunters, deepsea pods

Related Stories

Creating Music With Your Cell Phone

Nov 07, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- If you own a cell phone, then new software created by Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology director Gil Weinberg and his students will allow you to be the next composer and performer of ...

Toyota's musical robots (w/ Video)

Feb 25, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- The odds are that when you talk to the average person on the street they will have an opinion on what type of music is good and what type is bad. We tend to think of music as a human thing, ...

Smule buys fellow music app creator Khush

Dec 01, 2011

(AP) -- Smule, maker of apps such as Glee Karaoke, is hoping to make beautiful music with fellow app creator Khush through an acquisition announced Thursday.

Musical robots perform duets (w/ Video)

Nov 26, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- A flute playing robot unveiled by Waseda University last year has been joined by a robot saxophonist in a Classical music duet. The aim of the project was to design robots that could respond ...

Recommended for you

Future US Navy: Robotic sub-hunters, deepsea pods

Mar 28, 2015

The robotic revolution that transformed warfare in the skies will soon extend to the deep sea, with underwater spy "satellites," drone-launching pods on the ocean floor and unmanned ships hunting submarines.

Festo has BionicANTs communicating by the rules for tasks

Mar 27, 2015

Germany-based automation company Festo, focused on technologies for tasks, turns to nature for inspiration, trying to take the cues from how nature performs tasks so efficiently. "Whether it's energy efficiency, ...

Virtual robotization for human limbs

Mar 26, 2015

Recent advances in computer gaming technology allow for an increasingly immersive gaming experience. Gesture input devices, for example, synchronise a player's actions with the character on the screen. Entertainment ...

Robots on reins could be the 'eyes' of firefighters

Mar 25, 2015

Researchers at King's College London have developed revolutionary reins that enable robots to act like guide dogs, which could enable that firefighters moving through smoke-filled buildings could save vital ...

Robot revolution will change world of work

Mar 24, 2015

Robots will fundamentally change the shape of the workforce in the next decade but many industries will still need a human touch, a QUT Future of Work Conference has heard.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.