Skip to main content

CEATEC Japan 2009: Yamaha finds a new use for your iPhone, makes a table a piano and gives a robot a voice

And just when our head was spinning with all that, a curtain drew back to reveal this.

And just when our head was spinning with all that, a curtain drew back to reveal this.



Say hello to Lara Croft's robotic Japanese sister, otherwise known as HRP-4C. Developed by Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science, she's equipped with an enhanced version of Yamaha's Vocaloid voice-processing software, giving her conversational ability and an improved voice. Using the same files as the Clavinovas, she sings accompanied by your player-piano. And she even takes requests.

I'll leave it up to you to click here and see how convinced you are, but sitting just a few feet from the performance was uncanny, and I'm told that when someone selected a northern Japanese song across the stand via iPhone and wi-fi, she switched into a convincing northern accent to announce it.

On Ilkla Moor Baht 'At, anyone? Or maybe Wy-aye, Robot...?

Andrew has written about audio and video products for the past 20+ years, and been a consumer journalist for more than 30 years, starting his career on camera magazines. Andrew has contributed to titles including What Hi-Fi?, GramophoneJazzwise and Hi-Fi CriticHi-Fi News & Record Review and Hi-Fi Choice. I’ve also written for a number of non-specialist and overseas magazines.