Teresa Escrig

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Shimi the dancing robotic smartphone dock

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Researchers at Georgia Tech’s Center for Music Technology have developed a one-foot-tall (30 cm) smartphone-enabled robot called Shimi, which they describe as an interactive “musical buddy.”

Shime is going to be unveiled tomorrow (June the 28th 2012) at the Google I/O conference in San Francisco.

Shimi can analyze a beat clapped by a user and scan the phone’s musical library to play the song that best matches the rhythm and tempo. The robot will then dance, tapping its foot and moving its head in time with the beat. With the speakers positioned as Shimi’s ears, the robot can also use the connected phone’s camera and face-detection software to move its head so that the sound follows the listener around the room.

Future apps in the works will allow users to shake their head when they don’t like the currently playing song and tell Shimi to skip to the next track with a wave of a hand. Again, these gestures are picked up using the phone’s built in camera. Shimi will also be able to recommend new music based on the user’s song choices.

Shimi was created by Professor Gil Weinberg, director of Georgia Tech’s Center for Music Technology, who hopes third party developers will get on board to expand Shimi’s capabilities further by creating their own apps. He developed the robot in collaboration with Professor Guy Hoffmann from MIT’s Media Lab and IDC in Israel, entrepreneur Ian Campbell and robot designer Roberto Aimi.

“We’ve packed a lot of exciting robotics technology into Shimi,” says Weinberg. “Shimi is actually the product of nearly a decade of musical robotics research.”

By , June 27, 2012

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