The Sawada Group at Kagawa University apparently wants to freak us out as they’ve developed a large robot mouth that can mimic human speech.
Led by Professor Sawada, the mouth and tongue of the robot are made out of several types of silicone rubber while the inside is comprised of plaster, which emulates the structure of the membranes and bones of the inner nose.
According to Sawada, “air is sent from [an air] pump, and goes through a section equivalent to the vocal cords, which vibrate. When that happens, resonance occurs in the parts that touch the mouth. So by moving the mouth, the robot changes the volume of air in the cavity and forms words.”
This is all well and good, but what’s the point? Well, the robot can apparently hear sounds and figure out what motions the mouth needs to make to make it sound more human. It can change pitch by manipulating airflow and can retain information in its brain to make more sounds.
In the future, Sawada hopes to add teeth. Yes, teeth. This will apparently allow it to make “fricative consonants,” such as the letters S and F. Also, it’ll eat people to gain their knowledge.
Maybe. That last part might not be true.