The warbling robot, with the Star Wars-esque designation HRP-4C, stands at about five feet, two inches (1.58 meters) tall. It has the appearance of a young Japanese girl, although one admittedly wearing a RoboCop suit minus the helmet.
The Divabot was born from the brains of researchers at Japan’s Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology. She can sing realistically because of some special software that mimics human head, mouth, and facial movements, called VocalWatcher, and she synthesizes the song with software the team created called VocalListener (their original bot used Yamaha’s Vocaloid software). The researchers even added in real-life breath sounds and blinks to make her even more humanoid. The team believes that Divabot is the first of many robo-entertainers to come, team leader Masataka Goto told Tech News Daily:
“For robots to become widespread in society, I think they need to be used widely in the entertainment industry,” said Masataka Goto, leader of the media interaction group at Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology that is developing HRP-4C. “As one way of enabling this, we’ve tackled the challenge of seeing how well a robot can imitate a human singer.”
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