The brains at Tokyo University of Science and the Musashino Red Cross Hospital have joined forces to create a robot that will mimic the oral movements needed to articulate speech. The machine currently consists of a silicone tongue and a motorized lower jaw encapsulated in an artificial mouth structure.
At present, the robotics of the device are at prototype stage and have been engineered to replicate Japanese vowel sounds only. The next stages of the research hopes to provide synthetic lips and a palate such that consonants may be effectively reproduced by the mouthy star. It is hoped that the device, when completed, will help in key areas of speech therapy as well as with foreign language tuition. Those are surly the only uses for a robotic mouth—we just can't think of anything else. [Popgadget]