Robot Mouth Simulates the Human Voice


(YouTube Link)


Engineers at Kagawa University in Japan are developing a talking robotic version of the human mouth:

To enable the robot's speaking abilities, engineers at Japan's Kagawa University used an air pump, artificial vocal chords, a resonance tube, a nasal cavity, and a microphone attached to a sound analyzer as substitutes for human vocal organs. The robot not only talks, but it uses a learning algorithm to mimic the sounds of human speech. By inputting the voices of both hearing-impaired and non-hearing-impaired people into the microphone, researchers were able to plot the differences in sound on a map. During speech training, the robot "listens" to the subjects talk while comparing their pronunciation to that of subjects who are not hearing-impaired. The robot then generates a personalized visualization that allows subjects to adjust their pronunciation according to the target points on the speech map.


This video has already been used to create mashups currently circulating YouTube. In the links, you'll find one that presents the robot mouth as Eduard Khil, the Trolololo guy.

http://www.popsci.com/gadgets/article/2010-04/freaky-robot-mouth-simulates-human-voices | Robot Mouth as Trolololo Guy

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@Kalel

Can't tell if you're aware of the "Uncanny Valley" hypothesis. We like robots that clearly aren't human and we'll like robots that we can't tell the difference, what we don't like is robots that are very much like humans but not quite right.
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It makes me wonder about the directions robot evolution will take... more and more human, or just human enough to be practical?

And I wonder if the 'creepiness' will factor into the evolution, in that we might not accept a robot who is nearly human, but off a bit.
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