Hoffman, G., Weinberg, G. (2010)

Shimon: An Interactive Improvisational Robotic Marimba Player

Extended Abstracts Proceedings of the ACM International Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems


Shimon is an autonomous marimba-playing robot designed to create interactions with human players that lead to novel musical outcomes. The robot combines music perception, interaction, and improvisation with the capacity to produce melodic and harmonic acoustic responses through choreographic gestures. We developed an anticipatory action framework, and a gesture-based behavior system, allowing the robot to play improvised Jazz with humans in synchrony, fluently, and without delay. In addition, we built an expressive non-humanoid head for musical social communication. This paper describes our system, used in a performance and demonstration at the CHI 2010 Media Showcase.