Travis (aka Shimi) is a robotic smartphone speaker dock and music listening companion. Travis is a musical entertainment robot computationally controlled by an Android smartphone, and serves both as an amplified speaker dock, and a socially expressive robot. Travis is designed to enhance a human’s music listening experience by providing social presence and audience companionship, as well as by embodying the music played on the device as a performance. We developed Travis as a research platform to examine human-robot interaction as it relates to media consumption, robotic companionship, nonverbal behavior, timing, and physical presence.
Travis is also our first robot build according to the “Dumb Robot, Smart Phone” paradigm. Combining sensor-rich, high-performance mobile devices with simple, low-cost robotic platforms could help accelerate the adoption of personal robotics in real-world environments.