updated 10:34 pm EDT, Tue September 11, 2012
iPhone-oriented robot listens to music, responds accordingly
A team of roboticists from MIT, Israel's IDC, and Georgia Tech calling themselves Tovbot have developed the Shimi -- an iPhone-connectible "musically intelligent robotic speaker dock." The Shimi is currently in the beginning of its Kickstarter campaign for funding, and sits just over 10 percent funded in just a few days, with four weeks remaining.
Using face recognition technology, Shimi "faces" the listener, and points the six watt speakers accordingly. Using natural language processing, the robot understands and responds to musical requests, and also uses "sophisticated musical intelligence" to interpret the user's rhythmic taps and claps to select music with the same tempo. The stand itself will swivel its "head" and tap its "foot" and move other parts in time to the music.
The developers are intending to develop more applications for Shimi. In progress are utilities to allow the robot to respond to the user's facial expression, learn musical tastes, and recommend new music. Future apps for gaming, education, music making, and telepresence are expected.