Mechanical voice synthesiser Kugel, Harish; Miller, Tristan
The purpose of the project was to design and build a well understood mechanical voice simulator of the human vocal tract. In essence, various vowels and consonants were to be created using the device by adjusting its dimensions. Once completed, this model was to be used as an instructional instrument to assist in the understanding of the theory behind human voice production. Finally, if time permitted, the model was to be made automatically controlled. The first part of the project involved simplifying the human vocal tract as a double Helmholtz resonator, modeling it as a double spring-mass system and developing a theory to determine the resonating frequencies of the device. To verify the theory, prototypes with fixed dimensions were built and tested to compare the measured resonant frequencies with the predicted frequencies. The final dynamic device was then built and a mapping of the resonances as a function of the significant dimensions was constructed. By matching these resonant frequencies with the fundamental vowel frequencies given by the IPA, the device was able to produce most of the English vowel sounds. Although this was successful, the theory was unable to predict the frequencies emitted by the device, given a set of dimensions. For future development of this project, it is recommended that the theory be revisited in a less generalized manner to accurately predict the output of the dynamic double Helmholtz resonator. Additionally, the project could be expanded upon to include consonants by adding another resonant chamber for the nasal cavity.
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