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Robot picks, plays and grooves to your music

The smartphone docking station was upgraded to robot status today with the unveiling of a brainy speaker system at the Google I/O developer conference in San Francisco.The robot, called Shimi, gains the sensing and musical generation capabilities of the Android phone docked to it. For example, it uses facial recognition technology to follow a user around the room and position

The smartphone docking station was upgraded to robot status today with the unveiling of a brainy speaker system at the Google I/O developer conference in San Francisco.

The robot, called Shimi, gains the sensing and musical generation capabilities of the Android phone docked to it. 

For example, it uses facial recognition technology to follow a user around the room and position its speakers for optimal sound. Users can also tap out a rhythm and the robot will search the phone’s library for a song that matches the beat. 

The robot will also be able to recommend songs based on preferences similar to iTunes’ Genius engine and Pandora’s Music Genome Project.

In the future, the Georgia Tech team behind Shimi will deploy functions that will allow users to skip tracks and crank up the volume with hand gestures. More info is in the video below.

At the unveiling today in San Francisco, a trio of robots danced in sync to music created in the lab and composed according to the robots' movements. You can check out the performance below.

With the advent of such musical robots, the days of human DJs for wedding parties and high school dances may be numbered, serving another blow to a profession already being nudged off the radio by semi-intelligent software

Gil Weinberg, the robot's creator, is in the process of commercializing Shimi via his startup company Tovbot. You should be able to get your hands on one by the 2013 holiday season.

--via IEEE

John Roach is a contributing writer for msnbc.com. To learn more about him, check out his website and follow him on Twitter. For more of our Future of Technology series, watch the featured video below.