DJ Robot Destined To Liven Up Parties By 2013

Lee Rannals for

While most robots have been built recently with the work-industry in mind, one robot was built with the intention to party.

Georgia Tech´s Center for Music Technology have developed Shimi, a musical robot designed to DJ dance parties everywhere.

The smartphone-enabled robot is considered an interactive “musical buddy” that recommends songs based on feedback from the listeners.

“Shimi is designed to change the way that people enjoy and think about their music,” Professor Gil Weinberg, director of Georgia Tech´s Center for Music Technology and the robot´s creator, said in a recent statement.

The robot works in accordance with a smartphone app, which can be programmed to control how it gains the sensing and music generating capabilities.

Shimi can use a smartphone’s camera and face-detecting software to follow a listener around the room and position its speakers towards them for optimal sound.

The robot can also use recognition software to sense if someone claps or taps a tempo to play a song that best matches the suggestion.

“Many people think that robots are limited by their programming instructions,” Music Technology Ph.D. candidate Mason Bretan said. “Shimi shows us that robots can be creative and interactive.”

The researchers are planning to open up Shimi’s capabilities to recognize when a person dislikes a song, or wants to skip a song. They said they are planning to create future apps that will allow the user to shake their head in disagreement, or wave a hand to tell Shimi to skip a song or decrease the volume.

Developers will be able to open up Shimi to new capabilities by creating their own apps for the robot.

“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.

The robot was unveiled this week at Google’s I/O conference in San Francisco. A band of three Shimi robots danced in sync to music created in the lab that has been composed according to its movements.

Weinberg is in the process of commercializing Shimi through an exclusive licensing agreement with Georgia Tech. His start-up company, Tovbot, hopes to make Shimi available to consumers by the 2013 holiday season.

“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.”