Insert Coin Shimi iPhone robot is ready to dance its way out of the lab, into your heart

As soon as we saw Georgia Tech's Shimi, we wanted to how many sleepless nights we'd have to spend waiting for one to proudly display on our desk. And really that's the whole idea behind the iPhone-enabled dancing robot: bringing some sophisticated robotic concepts to the consumer, in an adorable little package. Now the wall-eyed "first musically intelligent robotic speaker dock" has hit Kickstarter, ready to dance its way into reality. When finished, Shimi will feature six-watt speakers on either side of its face and five motors that allow it to dance and turn its head to the best position for optimal listening. Shimi does the latter via facial recognition software, tracking you around the room. The 'bot can also respond to verbal requests like "look at me," and "play Justin Bieber" (their suggestion, not ours). In the future, its creators will be offering up apps for gaming, telepresence and the like, as well as an SDK for developers.

The Kickstarter page has a decidedly lofty $100,000 goal to hit by October 10th. Pledge $129 or more, and you get a Shimi of your very own. Check out a video of the 'bot and its creators after the break.

Previous project update: A day after we wrote it up, Impossible Instant Lab is getting close to its impossible dream with $233,000 of its $250,000 goal, with a full 26 days left to go.

Engadget HD Podcast 315 - 09.11.2012