Vocal Musical Robot
Research project on the development of new tools for musical expression at the University College Ghent
a singing robot
This project in the design and construction of a musical robot was taken up as a result of a Fullbright scholarship awarded to Troy Rogers (Virginia University) to come over and work in our labs and workshop as an apprentice to learn about designing and building musical robots. His specific wish was to develop a electromechanically operated voice, capable to take the role of a singer in an orchestral context. The idea to build an artificial human voice is in itself not novel at all. Primitive speaking machines have been build since the first half of the twentieth century. The first attempts made use of a set of flue pipes with the typical phoneme formants next to a few noise generating devices. They were operated with a typewriter style keyboard and worked on compressed air. We remember very well such a machine from seeing it and playing around with it in the former Evoluon, the science museum Philips maintained up to the last decennium of last century. Simular machines have been build by Martin Riches in Berlin, using already microcontrollers to obtain somewhat more fluent speach like sound.
In the works.
Design and construction: dr.Godfried-Willem Raes & Troy Rogers
Collaborators on the construction of this robot:
Music composed for <Vox>:
Pictures taken during the construction in our workshop:
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Construction & Research Diary:
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Last update: 2017-08-05 by Godfried-Willem Raes
The following information is not intended for the general public nor for composers wanting to make use of our <Vox> robot, but is essential for maintenance and servicing of the robot by our collaborators. It also might be usefull for people that want to undertake similar projects. Feedback is mostly welcomed.
Technical drawings, specs and data sheets:
Wiring & circuit details midihub board:
Circuit details solenoid driver board:
Mechanical construction drawings and welding plan:
Padu horn driver 100W / 16 Ohm.
Download high resolution pictures of this robot:
Raes, Godfried-Willem, "Expression control in musical automates", 1977/2010,