Researchers at Georgia Tech have invented a robot-looking docking station for Android based phones that provides music enrichment features to make using such devices more fun and pleasant. Called Shimi, the robot analyzes music already on a device and offers suggestions for new tunes, dances, points “his” ears (with embedded speakers) in the direction of the listener for better broadcast sound and changes music characteristics based on listener feedback. The researchers and their project have been profiled on Georgia Tech’s Newsroom page and GizMag says the new device, which is to be demoed at the upcoming Google I/O conference in San Francisco, also taps its foot in sync with the music, making for a cool little gadget indeed. PhonesReview says that integrating the ability to recognize hand gestures ups the value of the docking station, as does its cuteness factor. It can be seen in action in a video posted by the team on YouTube.
Shimi is the product of engineers at GT’s Center for Music Technology, headed by Professor Gil Weinberg, though it won’t remain there long. Plans are already in the works to form a company to market the unique docking station robot and those involved say they expect a product to be made available for sale prior to next year’s Christmas season.
GizMag says that Shimi can also respond to hand gestures telling it to turn the volume down, cut the song playing short, or skip one altogether. The little robot, referred to by the research team as a “musical buddy” is meant to play the role of partner in helping phone owners organize their music and to offer suggestions on improvements. The say that Shimi can also respond to a unique beat created by handclapping to pull up songs on the phone that use that beat. In this way, if a listener wants to hear a raggea song, for example, all they have to do is start clapping a reggae beat and Shimi will do the rest.
PhonesReview adds that Shimi is the result of over a decade of research at the university and the results look very promising for the company that is formed to sell it.