The soundsmiths at Georgia Tech's Center for Music Technology this week revealed Shimi, a 1-foot-tall musical robot that aims to serve as a musical assistant.
Created by center director Gil Weinberg, Shimi's dual-speaker visage bobs its "head" and taps its hand/foot to the beat of a song while a range of features become available after docking an Android smartphone. Weinberg co-developed Shimi in collaboration with the Media Innovation Lab at IDC Herzliya, led by professor Guy Hoffmann.
For example, the pint-size Shimi utilizes facial recognition through the front-facing camera of an Android phone to position its speakers toward the listener for optimal sound. A summary of the device from Georgia Tech mentions a unique song selection method: "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."
Other compelling features coming to Shimi include gesture recognition for playback/volume control and the ability to recommend music based on the active song.
New start-up robotic toy company Tovbot announced plans to sell Shimi to consumers in 2013 for an undisclosed price. We spotted a conceptual image of the commercial version of Shimi on the Tovbot Web site. Attendees of the Google I/O conference in San Francisco can check out Shimi during the after-hours party at Moscone Center tonight.
Take a peek at Weinberg's previous robot named, an "autonomous, marimba-playing, octopus-armed hipster," according to fellow CNET writer Tim Hornyak.