|Shimi is the product of research done at Georgia Tech's Center for Music Technology. It is, in essence, an artificial intelligence DJ. It recommends songs, dances to the beat and keeps the music pumping based on listener feedback.
Fully compatible with BANs (Body Area Networks), Shimi will happily interface directly with any modern smartphone system. The phone docking inside Shimi's one-foot-tall body. 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.
“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,” said Professor Gil Weinberg, director of Georgia Tech’s Center for Music Technology and the robot’s creator.
“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.”