WAHHA GO GO Laughing Head

The WAHHA GO GO is a laughing head, a clockwork mechanism created to produce an accurate imitation of a human laugh using similar structures.

Listen to the WAHHA GO GO video and judge for yourself.


(WAHHA GO GO laughing head)

According to the video, WAHHA GO GO is activated by spinning the torso-mounted metal disk (an optional crank arm can be used for greater speed). The disk’s rotational energy is transferred to the machine’s left and right arms via a gear assembly in the lower back. As the arms rotate, the accordion-like lungs expand upward, drawing in air that is then exhaled through the machine’s artificial vocal cords.

Another set of gear wheels in the spine transfers some of the spinning disk’s rotational energy to the head assembly, which includes a pair of tiny arms that stretch and relax WAHHA GO GO’s artificial vocal cords (thus regulating the pitch), as well as an arm connected to a valve that controls the flow of air from the lungs. This arm also opens and closes the mouth, which alters the so-called “formant characteristics” (resonant frequency) of the laugh, producing the “wa” and “ha” sounds.

This seems like a good start on the famous talking head output device from William Gibson's 1984 novel Neuromancer:

…a head, an intricately worked bust, cloisonné over platinum, studded with seed pearls and lapis. ..The thing was a computer terminal…it could talk. And not in a synth-voice, but with a beautiful arrangement of gears and miniature organ pipes. It was a baroque thing for anyone to have constructed, a perverse thing, because synth-voice chips cost next to nothing…

Via Pink Tentacle.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 8/27/2009)

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