The name of this post is Talking Heads.
November 28, 2008 3:19 PM Subscribe
The Waseda Talker has been turning heads (har har) lately. It's a mechanical simulation of the human vocal tract, from the motion of its synthetic lips down to the hypnotic undulation of its rubbery vocal folds (compare the genuine article here). Think this is new? Well, these days we do most of this stuff electronically — but talking simulacra have a long and weird history, starting back when electronic synthesizers were just a pipe dream. Here's a talking pair of bellows from 1791, and a head you can play like a trumpet as recently as 1937. The granddaddy of 'em all are the Kratzenstein resonators (not Frankenstein, Kratzenstein!) from 1779. Make your own with pipe insulation and a duck call.
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