Say hello to Japan's first robotic pop singer

There's a trend right now of robots watching and learning. This HRP-4 "diva-bot" is no different, and its builders have upgraded it with the ability to not only read a singer's lips to learn a turn, but to match her facial expressions, too.

There are two programs behind the fembot's vocal skills. The first is called VocaListener, which allows the robot to watch a human's mouth and synthesize the appropriate notes, essentially singing the song under its own power. It's a trick the HRP-4 is no stranger to, though this time its back with a new and improved system.

The second algorithm, Vocawatcher, is what adds in that little extra dash to make it all more lifelike. It allows the HRP-4 to examine the facial tics and motions that go along with each note. To test out the system, Japanese researchers had the 'bot watch a singer and then try out the song itself.

The result, as you can see below, is pretty impressive. If you've ever read William Gibson's Idoru, technological advances such as this make it feel like only a matter of time before we have synthetic pop icons.

DigInfo, via PopSci

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