The annoying guy at parties who keeps changing the music may be facing redundancy, thanks to a new robot DJ docking station that chooses music, reacts to crowd feedback and dances appallingly. Developed by Georgia Tech’s Center for Music Technology, Shimi the robot is being demonstrated today at Google’s I/O conference in San Francisco and the developers say Shimi should be available to buy next year.
Professor Gil Weinberg, the robot’s creator, explained that Shimi is essentially a docking station with a “brain” powered by an Android phone. Once docked, the robot uses the sensing and musical generation capabilities of the user’s mobile device.
By using the phone’s camera and face-detecting software, Shimi can follow listeners around the room and position its “ears,” or speakers, for optimal sound. Another recognition feature, Weinberg added, 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.”
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.
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