Headphones on, everyone. The moaning mouth 'bot is back, this time to sing you a Japanese nursery rhyme. (Freaking you out is a side effect, not the main goal.) Hideyuki Sawada of Kagawa University in Japan brought the mouthbot to Robotech 2011 to demonstrate its new powers. You can watch it below singing "Kagome Kagome," a children's song.
The robot, which first started freaking us out last spring, is designed to help hearing-impaired people improve their speech. It's the most mechanically accurate robot mouth ever, with an air pump to simulate lungs, artificial vocal chords, a resonance tube, a nasal cavity, and a microphone attached to a sound analyzer. It listens to itself and uses a learning algorithm to better mimic the sounds of human speech.
For those of you who did not grow up with Japanese nursery rhymes, you can hear what "Kagome Kagome" is supposed to sound like here, so you can judge the robot's vocal skills.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.