If watching a robotic rubbery face sing along to high-pitched Japanese pop songs tickles your fancy, then be sure to check out the video below.
The four minute clip features HRP-4C, a singing “divabot” who mimics human singers’ facial expressions and breath patterns using breath-analysis software and mouth-movement observations
It’s every bit as weird and as unsettling as you might expect, with the robotic head tilting, blinking and mimicking the facial expressions of a human singer.
Masataka Goto, head cheese at the Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology’s media interaction group, said that researchers whipped up a software program called VocaListener to synthesize notes, while something called Vocawatcher analysed a singer’s facial movements as they warbled away.
To add that extra level of spookiness, the squawking bot also ‘breathes’, courtesy of the software modelling the breath sounds of various people.
It makes for an utterly bizarre spectacle, although we’d say it’s still more convincing than some of the contestants we’ve seen on X Factor.