As the world can't get enough robots to groove to music, Shimi Tovbot was demonstrated this week at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco. Call me a purist, but I like my dancing robots to resemble soda cans, wear sunglasses and be completely clueless to my verbal commands. Of course, I'm kidding. Shimi is quite advanced, and won me over after watching the demo video.
Shimi isn't just a dumb sound-activated automaton. Based on a lot of awesome research in conjunction with Georgia Tech and MIT, it's the first commercially available robot from startup Tovbot to distill the findings of this group. Well, it's still a Kickstarter project at this point, but I'm hopeful the tech community will see how great this is -- and the potential.
Shimi "holds" your iPhone in its "hand" like a dock. It can move about, and wiggle its limited appendages and head. It also responds to voice commands, can detect the beat of a song by you clapping your hands (and finds songs that match) and somehow learns what you like. How the learning aspects of Shimi play out was never really explained in the video, alas.
Still, if you've ever been a fan of WowWee's line of consumer robots (as I am), Tovbot is a good bet, and Shimi is available on Kickstarter.