Update July 14, 2011: much better video now available (please see below).
We’re one step closer to the Robocalypse: a research team at Japan’s Kagawa University has developed a robot that’s able to “speak” like a human being. While talking robots are not new by any means, this model isn’t using software but a set of mechanical, human-like vocal organs, for example artificial vocal chords or a tongue and lips that are made of silicone.
The key element to make the robot speak like a human is an air compressor: the robot uses a set of pressure and control valves, eight resonance motors, and a resonance tube (the throat) to convert airflow into sounds. Those sounds are then recorded via a mic, collected and passed on to be processed by a computer to make them as human-like as possible.
Update: new (and much better) video of the robot from Diginfonews:
Here’s a short video of the robot in action:
Here’s a longer one: