Watch Georgia Tech's Musical Robots Evolve Into Shimi the Robot DJ

See how researchers from Georgia Tech turned musical robots into a DJ you can buy

2 min read

Evan Ackerman is IEEE Spectrum’s robotics editor.

Watch Georgia Tech's Musical Robots Evolve Into Shimi the Robot DJ

It's always fun when we get to follow a robot as it evolves in a research lab somewhere and then finally makes it out into The Real World.™ Shimi, who we first met at Google I/O back in June, has a lineage at Georgia Tech stretching back many years, so I thought it would be kind of cool to take a look at some of the research that went in to making this robotic DJ (which, by the way, is now on Kickstarter).

These videos come from Gil Weinberg's Robotic Musicianship Group at Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology. This first one, from 2008, shows Haile, a robotic drummer that can detects the beats played by a human (sounds like a familiar feature, right?), along with the coincidentally named Shimon, a robotic marimba player that can improvise based on the analyzed scale played by as human piano player.


By 2009, Shimon is sounding pretty good, although it's still missing a head.


In late 2009, we see Shimon with a head, and he knows how to use it, a feature that you'll also find in Shimi.


It looks like Shimi was originally called Travis, no doubt after Georgia Tech alum and fellow robotics blogger Travis Deyle. Here's a demo of Travis from last year:


The promo video for Travis is the same as the one for Shimi, with one exception: Travis apparently offers the option of a smoke machine, lasers, and dancers, while Shimi does not. Boo!


The Kickstarter video itself wraps up Shimi's lineage nicely, and if you're a fan of the project, $150 will get you one as soon as they're available.


[ Shimi on Kickstarter ]

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