Creepy Robot Head Singin’ the Hits

In one of the creepiest-looking things I’ve seen since The Grudge, Professor Chyi-Yeu Lin and his colleagues at National Taiwan University of Science and Technology have created an android-like head capable of reading, “memorizing,” and singing back music in Mandarin. In a process that takes around 40 seconds, the robot takes a picture of simplified notation with cameras in its eyes, scans it over, and then sings it back in what seems to be a semi-realistic human voice. Check out this video and try not to scream.

She can also imitate the look of horror people have upon seeing her.

The hope is, apparently, to try and engineer these stealers of souls to be robot receptionists at restaurants. All I know is that I look forward to a future when a kid I’m teaching to read music whines for me to play the piece for him so he can cheat his way through learning it and I can say, “I won’t play it, but I bet scary disembodied head lady will if you ask her nicely.” And then he reads the music like a good little music student.

(via NewScientist)

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Ashley Hamer

Ashley Hamer

Ashley Hamer (aka Smashley) is a saxophonist and writer living in Chicago, where she performs regularly with the funk band FuzZz and jazz ensemble Big Band Boom. She also does standup comedy, sort of, sometimes. Her tenor saxophone's name is Ladybird.


  1. August 15, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    That is just wrong. This why I always say we need our robots to look like ROBOTS, not like people.

  2. August 15, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    For one thing, they could at least paint a highlight in her CREEPY DEAD EYES.

  3. August 16, 2011 at 1:49 am

    It can recognize surprise? Muahaha! This one can, too.

  4. August 16, 2011 at 9:52 am

    That thing isn’t just in the uncanny valley, it’s in hole dug in the bottom of the friggen uncanny Mariana Trench. [Shudders]. And it’s going to end up being a better sight singer than I am dammit. Now, where did I put those pitch forks and torches…..?

  5. August 16, 2011 at 10:01 am

    The only thing that could make this creepier is if there was just a tiny bit of spittle that flew out when she sang.

  6. August 16, 2011 at 11:52 am

    This is what I call the tracing effect. Because you can always tell when a portrait has been traced from a photo as it has the “dead look”. I figure this is due to the effect of exact replication with minor errors causing us to know there is something wrong without being able to pinpoint it. Or some combination of a 3d object being flattened and reversed.

    I think they would do better to make a face freehand out of clay and then cast it. apose to whatever crazy Voodoo shit they are doing now.

  7. August 16, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    Also, what is with her teeth?

  8. August 17, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    Hnnghhh– uncanny valley is uncanny.

  9. August 18, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    I think what’s creepy about that woman is she doesn’t look very human at all, though she might make it on “The Worst of American Idol.”

    Take a look at this guy, he’s really interesting:
    “Geminoid DK Mechanical Test”

    I think what gets creepy is when the words “Mechanical Test” sink in. Yeah, on second look, this guy does act a little bit mechanical.

  10. August 20, 2011 at 1:59 am

    I figured it out. The problem is that her skin isn’t on straight. Hence the weird eye and horrible teeth!

  11. August 20, 2011 at 2:02 am


    Better, but then he opened his mouth. Though honestly, until then I would have sworn he was real. I was really digging the subtle shift from blinking to tight-shut eyes. Definitely an improvement over rubber-skin-scary-face.

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