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Japanese Lab Creates 'Da Vinci' Voices

CowboyNeal posted more than 8 years ago | from the speaking-with-the-dead dept.

183

Mikki writes "Using methods employed in criminal investigations, the Japan Acoustic Lab has analyzed the skeletal structures of Leonardo Da Vinci and Mona Lisa's faces to replicate how their voices would have sounded." While Da Vinci is cool, I can think of a slew of other deceased notables worth talking with as well.

cancel ×

183 comments

I, for one... (5, Funny)

Solra Bizna (716281) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364024)

*is brutally killed before finishing the meme*

-:sigma.SB

Re:I, for one... (5, Funny)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364055)

That's ok, we can re-create your typing style from your skeleton and finish the job

Re:I, for one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15364265)

Mod parent funny! it's a reference to The Da Vinci Code!

Re:I, for one... (0, Offtopic)

IndigoParadox (953607) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364537)

What's funny is that I haven't even read that yet and I still got it. =OP

Re:I, for one... (0, Offtopic)

theTerribleRobbo (661592) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364326)

Solra! What are you doing here?! o_O

Gods, I thought you'd have something more to say than the beginning of some lame meme. :\

- Tol Kerhys

(Note to mods: Sorry, he's a chap from some game I play. This post is completely offtopic.)

Ergh - yuk. (3, Insightful)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364028)

1) Promotion of lame movie.

2) IE 6 Only.

Please don't post this sort of crap (that's so hard to watch) again.

Re:Ergh - yuk. (3, Informative)

jginspace (678908) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364044)

2)IE 6 Only.

Huh? TFA opens fine in Opera and IE...

The "(Leonardon) Da Vinci referece = promotion of lame movie" stance I shall ignore.

Re:Ergh - yuk. (2, Interesting)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364059)

Huh? TFA opens fine in Opera and IE...

And the article contains a link to the MSN IE 6.0 only site, where you can actually listen to the clips the article discusses (they appear to be wmp only audio files too)

Utterly typical of MS to attempt to force their crap software on the world (but thank god its only a link to their crap content).

Re:Ergh - yuk. (1)

jginspace (678908) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364061)

TFA opens fine in Opera and IE...

Sorry ... meant to say "Opera and Firefox".

(And sorry about the atrocious typing.)

Stephen Hawking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15364157)

I want to know what he would sound like :p

the article and direct link (1)

0232793 (907781) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364183)

http://promotion.msn.co.jp/davinci/voice.htm [msn.co.jp]

Cracking "The Da Vinci Code" could have been easier -- well, maybe -- if the characters had enlisted the Japanese lab which has "recreated" the voices of Leonardo and Mona Lisa.

Using methods employed in criminal investigations, the Japan Acoustic Lab says it has analyzed the skeletal structures of the historical figures' faces to replicate how their voices would have sounded.

The voices are part of the intense promotion of the Hollywood film on Microsoft's Japanese site at http://promotion.msn.co.jp/davinci/voice.htm [msn.co.jp] .

"We believe we were able to create the voices that are very close to the real voices. Perhaps it was really how they really sounded," the lab's chief Matsumi Suzuki says on the website.

A former police engineer who specializes in audio analysis, Suzuki says he assumed the woman in the legendary famed Leonardo painting was 168 centimeters (5 foot, 6 inches) tall, giving her a relatively low tone for a woman.

"We cannot tell exactly how tall she was. So we analyzed the length of her right middle finger" and looked at the average height of Italian women, he said.

Suzuki says he gave Mona Lisa a slightly nasal tone because of her relatively large nose.

For Leonardo, Suzuki made his voice around the time when he was 60 years old to match his bearded face in the famous sketched portrait.

"Because the beard covers his jaws in his portrait, we could not tell his exact skeletal features. We assumed that he had a heavy-jowled face, giving him a nice, bass tone," Suzuki says.

Suzuki, who frequently appears in popular media, has used his skills in a variety of fields, such as analyzing voices in purported recordings of Osama bin Laden.

He also collaborated with Japanese toy maker Takara Co. to create the smash-hit Bowlingual, which is said to interpret dog language.

For the toy, Suzuki received the 2002 tongue-in-cheek IgNobel Prize in the field of peace for scientific achievement that "cannot or should not be reproduced."

Re:the article and direct link (1)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364203)

The voices are part of the intense promotion of the Hollywood film on Microsoft's Japanese site at http://promotion.msn.co.jp/davinci/voice.htm [msn.co.jp] .

Sorry, I should have been clearer - its the http://promotion.msn.co.jp/ [msn.co.jp] site that does not work without IE6 & WMP.

Thanks for the mirror tho'

Re:the article and direct link (2, Insightful)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364457)

"Because the beard covers his jaws in his portrait, we could not tell his exact skeletal features. We assumed that he had a heavy-jowled face, giving him a nice, bass tone," Suzuki says.


The translation is a bit off there. This should read:

"Because the Hollywood studio paid us so much money and we didn't have anything to work with anyway, we made it all up."

Re:the article and direct link (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364740)

And the accessable link to the actual voice files themselves?

Re:Ergh - yuk. (1)

8ball629 (963244) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364228)

1) Promotion of lame movie.

2) IE 6 Only.

Must... destroy.... MS...

*falls over*

Fine, but... (4, Insightful)

jolyonr (560227) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364035)

how will bone structure determine regional accent?

If you make assumptions about where someone was brought up and who by, this kind of thing could work - but let's see a blind test. Let someone do a recording of their voice, get these guys to analyse their facial structure (in silence) and see if their prediction matches reality. It's easy to say what dead people noone alive has heard sounds like.

Jolyon

Re:Fine, but... (2, Insightful)

datafr0g (831498) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364053)

I was thinking the same thing... to add to this - How would one be able to predict that vocal cords are even intact from looking at a skeletal structure??

Re:Fine, but... (2, Insightful)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364060)

that's a good point, but even if you did know the region, and even what accent was deffinately in that region at that time (because it's changed so much over the last 400 years) I think an even bigger point is the shape of the tounge; even the slightest change in size would change how your vioce sounded far more than any factor like head size/shape.

Re:Fine, but... (2, Interesting)

Eivind (15695) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364245)

It's worse than that. The skeletal anatomy is only going to give you a very vague idea, if that. There's just too many variables that are unaccounted for, a short list of examples:

  • Where did the person grow up.
  • What dialect did the people he spoke most to speak (parents, friends, teachers, relatives, neighbours etc)
  • What where his vocal-chords, tongue, lips and mouth like ? (for example, skeletal analysis will not tell you if someone has been smoking for 30 years or not)
  • Was he allergic to anything ? Nose open ? Size and shape of nose in general ?
  • What was his weight ?

I'm fairly certain the unknowns add up sufficiently to make the entire exercise pointless. My guess is that given ten people with different voices, all raised in the same area, this method would not be capable of analysing their bone-structure and then correspond voice to person. (other than the relatively trivial job of getting the sex of the person correct, most women sound noticeably different from most men.)

Re:Fine, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15364356)

To distill this entire discussion down into a single Eddie Izzard quote:

"'ello, we're the Romans!"

Re:Fine, but... (1)

alder (31602) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364471)

other than the relatively trivial job of getting the sex of the person correct

Umm... There are claims that Jokonda is a prank and it's a face of a man (maybe Leonardo's own). That might actually "explain" her relative tallness (according to that sceletal analysis). At the same time it'll invalidate their assumption that the voise should be of a female.

;-)

What you don't see... (3, Funny)

umbrellasd (876984) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364108)

Probably doesn't work too well for eunuchs either, :).

Mona Lisa was a man! (2, Funny)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364161)

Probably doesn't work too well for Unix either, :).

Well, as other posters have pointed out, the site is IE6 only...

But apart from that, read this quote, and draw your conclusions:

A former police engineer who specializes in audio analysis, Suzuki says he assumed the woman in the legendary famed Leonardo painting was 168 centimeters (5 foot, 6 inches) tall, giving her a relatively low tone for a woman.

Re:Mona Lisa was a man! (1)

ElleyKitten (715519) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364219)

A former police engineer who specializes in audio analysis, Suzuki says he assumed the woman in the legendary famed Leonardo painting was 168 centimeters (5 foot, 6 inches) tall, giving her a relatively low tone for a woman.

How does being 5'6 make you have a low tone? My best friend is 5'6 and she has a high tone. In fact, our voices are so similar (even though I'm 5'2) that people (even my mom) can't tell the difference between us on the phone. I think this whole concept of height = vocal tone is bullshit.

Re:Mona Lisa was a man! (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364247)

I think this whole concept of height = vocal tone is bullshit.

IMHO, the whole concept (of skeletal features imply voice) is bullshit.

As other people have pointed out, there are so many other elements that affect voice (regional access, non-skeletal physical features such as tongue and vocal chord shape, how you "move" your vocal chords and tongue, ...).

But that Mona-Lisa-had-a-manly-voice snippet was just too funny to pass, hehe.

Re:Mona Lisa was a man! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15364259)

Wow, Dudes, there's a girl on slashdot.

Re:Mona Lisa was a man! (1)

Martin Foster (4949) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364499)

That's rather tall for a woman, even in this day and age I know a lot of women that are shorter. Back then, even the men were on average shorter, being average height balooned in the last hundred years or so.

So this man's assumption on her height is rather flawed by lack of historical reference.

Re:Fine, but... (1)

Propaganda13 (312548) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364119)

Shouldn't DaVinci and Mona Lisa sound the same?

Re:Fine, but... (2, Informative)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364171)

I agree.

    Accents change a lot by the way the local accent is spoken.

    Even my own voice, I know depending on where I am, my voice changes. There are a few places that I've spent a good bit of time, so I easily slip into the local accents. There are a few bad fake accents I do too.

    I will say my nice clear broadcaster voice with a midwestern accent (i.e., plain) is a whole lot different than say my southern drawl. And like when I do my totally bogus 80's valley wannabe, it's like TOTally different.

    And lets not forget the voice on my voicemail. A few people have asked why I haven't changed it from the computer synthesized voice. I have to break it to them that it's really my voice. :) It wasn't intentional, it's just a very flat monotone message, because I wasn't very excited about doing a voicemail recording.

Re:Fine, but... (1)

krunk4ever (856261) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364272)

I'm not an anatomist, but it might be the fact that facial structure might give enough information to estimate the tone and pitch. Obviously, you can add in random accents, but accents don't exactly change your tone / pitch that much. It also appears that body height is factor in determining tone.

I'll also be curious on how they fare when comparing with live demos. They say they experimented on Osama bin Laden's facial structure. It'd be interesting to see how that came out.

Count me in! (0, Offtopic)

antek9 (305362) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364396)

I'd also be rather interested in experimenting on Osama bin Laden's facial structure. With a baseball bat, that is...

Ok, mod me down as dumb, if you can, but it had to be said. ;)

The other half of the blind test... (1)

Richard Kirk (535523) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364418)

An oil painting can record sound. The canvas vibrates with the sound in the studio, creating ridges in the paint left by the artist's pallette knife or brush. I remember some research in the 1970's (?) that claimed to have reproduced some noises, though no intelligible words, from light-slice microscopy of some Dutch masters.

The Mona Lisa was painted on wood. Not much chance of "enough of the knock-knock jokes, you silly cow, this is supposed to be a serious portrait" spoken with a Tuscan accent.

Re:Fine, but... (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364591)

"how will bone structure determine regional accent?"

What, you don't think Leonardo spoke Modern English with a thick Japanese accent?

with them? (5, Funny)

iogan (943605) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364039)

While Da Vinci is cool, I can think of a slew of other deceased notables worth talking with as well.

Yeah, um.. you won't actually get to talk with them though, you'll just get to figure out what their voices might have sounded like. Sorry if that ruins it for you.

Re:with them? (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364098)

you'll just get to figure out what their voices might have sounded like

In Japanese.

Maybe.

The reasoning sounds pretty shaky, though - to the extent that I am curious as to who was rash enough to fund it.

Re:with them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15364201)

The reasoning sounds pretty shaky, though - to the extent that I am curious as to who was rash enough to fund it.

From TFA:
The voices are part of the intense promotion of the Hollywood film on Microsoft's Japanese site at http://promotion.msn.co.jp/davinci/voice.htm [msn.co.jp] .

I think this is more of a movie promotion than a serious scientific work. As such, funding is probably not a problem.

i know what he had.. (1)

nihaopaul (782885) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364112)

he had one of those high pitch girl voices a man shouldn't have!

Enough said... (3, Funny)

nakedforjesus (73005) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364058)

Mike Tyson ;)

Digg -1. (-1, Redundant)

Yuioup (452151) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364066)

Lame.

Y

Re:Digg -1. (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364089)

Spam's lame, too.

Re:Digg -1. (1)

Benzido (959767) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364285)

That is actually what I hate about Digg. The discussions there are just like spam.

So it's no wonder that it seems like spam when these digg people post here.

Cool, but (1)

ABoerma (941672) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364088)

I'd rather know what they'd have to than how they'd sound saying it.

Da Vinci (3, Funny)

dr_d_19 (206418) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364090)

No wireless. Less paint than Monet. Lame.

Just in from Hollywood... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15364110)

Ron Howard hits ceiling, tosses phones, when it turns out DaVinci sounded a whole lot like Harvey Fierstein.

surely not (0, Redundant)

celardore (844933) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364120)

How would they even know if they were correct? Sure DaVinci was a bright man, but even basic recording was hundreds of years after him.

Re:surely not (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364246)

See, that's why they're getting grants for this. Ahh, research with unfalsifiable results is the best research.

Re:surely not (1)

onedotzero (926558) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364351)

Well, not really. As long as falsifiable test subjects are available (such as other scientists or volunteers) you can fine-tune the algorithms involved to get an accurate output.

So long as the adjustments are done without bias (to replicate test subjects' voices) the only things you'd have to give up on are regional accents (as mentioned earlier) and outside influences that may have effects on voice (throat/lung disease, smoking or injuries spring to mind).

Which is great because.. (4, Insightful)

Burb (620144) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364126)

... we all know that we way we talk is completely determined by skeletal structure. Your native language, culture, education, temperament, mood, and state of health are completely irrelevant.

Mind you, it would be funny if he sounded like Tom Hanks.

Re:Which is great because.. (1)

mrjb (547783) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364187)

...likewise, skeletal structure alone doesn't determine shape of the soft tissue involved in speech (such as the larynx). In criminal investigation, there are huge problems involved in determining, for instance, the exact shape of the nose. These can only be guesstimated. As assumptions need to be made, this whole thing is going to be wildly inaccurate. Also, although modeling the entire physics of the head is definitely a Very Advanced form of speech synthesis, you'd need to model the exact movements of all organs involved in the speech system to even get a natural-sounding result. Sure, speech synthesis technology is improving, and kudos to the scientists working on this, they're doing groundbreaking work - But I call bull on them saying that the resulting speech will sound like Leonardo.

Stop the Viral Marketing please (2)

owlnation (858981) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364129)

Could we please please pretty please have a ban on the use of the name "da Vinci" for at least a year?

I'm totally overmarketed.

The tragic thing is that I was a big fan of the man himself until that trashy novel came out.

Re:Stop the Viral Marketing please (1)

kkiller (945601) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364220)

Why should the hijacking of an historical figure's name, against the dead man's willing, by a worthless supermarket novel hack stop you from appreciating art? You can't exactly blame Da Vinci for the massification of culture.

Re:Stop the Viral Marketing please (1)

stateofmind (756903) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364221)

I'm afraid I have to agree. Have you tried watching the History Channel in the last couple days? Ugh... Da Vinci non-stop.

This is good (1)

spuby (971508) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364136)

Give them 5 years and you'll see humanoid robots impersonating Da Vinci (looking, walking and talking like him) or other deceased personalities.

Farfetched (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364145)

Analyze the facial features of what is a Da Vinci painting, make the skeletal structure of a painting, and analyze it to see how would a Da Vinci painting sound if it could say something?

That sound kinda farfetched to anyone?

Plus, why take on the easy job? Let'em try and analyze what a Picasso painting would sound like...

Re:Farfetched (1)

c0bw3b (530842) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364624)

I think we ought to analyze Charlie Brown [michaelpaulus.com] 's skeleton, and determine what he actually sounded like.

Re:Farfetched (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364671)

With a head like that, how do Peanuts characters put their clothes on and off?

Not a new thing, is it? (1)

smallfeet (609452) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364164)

The Japanese have been weird about the Mona Lisa for a long time. I remember seeing something on TV 10 or more years ago about a device to simulate Mona Lisa' voice. People were getting plastic surgery to look like Mona Lisa (don't think it was just woman either).

Re:Not a new thing, is it? (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364205)

don't think it was just woman either

hihihi!

Re:Not a new thing, is it? (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364252)

The Japanese have been weird [...] for a long time.

That sentence is universally true. That's what makes them so interesting.

Re:Not a new thing, is it? (1)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364670)

That sentence is universally true

It is true from your perspective, but not to everyone in the universe hence it's not universal.
Behaviour of Americans is ultimately weird to me, doesn't mean my perception is universal.

Re:Not a new thing, is it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15364253)

Why do people so often insist on using a catch all term like "The Japanese" if they see a *few* Japanese people doing something strange?

The Americans have been weird about Michael Jackson for a long time. I remeber seeing something on TV 10 or more years ago about a device to simulate Michael Jackson's voice. People were getting plastic surgery to look like Michael Jackson (don't think it was just men either).

Re:Not a new thing, is it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15364542)

Maybe because most nation states are ethnically homogeneous unlike the United States which is a multi-ethnic society. As a result such homogeneous societies are much more culturally homogeneous than a society like the US. People tend to have very similar tastes and people from such countries tend to ask questions that sound almost nonsensical to Americans such as "what kind of food do Americans like?" etc.

If you have any doubt about the Japanese being a bit goofy about the Mona Lisa go to the Louvre on any day that they are letting outside tours in and try to see the Mona Lisa. You won't be able to because of the constant glare from the flash cameras of masses of Japanese tourists reflecting off the protective glass. I've been to the Louvre probably a dozen times but I've rarely seen La Gioconda/La Joconde for more than 3 or 4 seconds at a time thanks to the hundreds of Japanese tourists taking what amounts to pictures of the reflection of their own camera flashes.

Re:Not a new thing, is it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15364679)

I've been to the Louvre twice and I concur.

It's awful freaking hard to take a picture of it anyways, what with the glare from the bullet resistant glass.

45 seconds into the Da Vinci recording (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15364174)

he reveals: "Luke, I am your father!"

His hack of a son, copied his dad in Empire during the jungle scene where he cuts of Vaders head to reveal his own face when the mask blows off in a puff of smoke. At which point, the MPAA stepped in to sue Luke for copy infringment of the Mona Lisa, claiming derivative work. Not to be left out, RIAA is sueing the maker of the recording, Mark Hamill, and the dead grandmother of a nine year old girl who heard the recording as she passed by a neighbor playing to it on their computer. The device used, "ears", have been declared a hacking device of digitial property and hackers are terrorists, so everyone involved will be sent to gitmo. Obi-won wimpers about all being lost but yoda chimes in saying "no, there is another". Not that there's been a poll, but I think he was refering to the cowboy neal because if their isn't a plan b, there's always an option d.

John 21, 15-17 (2, Funny)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364188)

15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord, you know that I like you." He said to him, "Feed my lambs."

16 He then said to him a second time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord, you know that I like you." He said to him, "Tend my sheep."

17 He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you like me?" Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time, "Do you like me?" and he said to him, "Lord, you know everything; you know that I like you." (Jesus) said to him, "Feed my sheep.

hmmm...

And btw, in that infamous "last supper" picture, there is more than one character that looks like a woman...

Bob 16, 22-27 (1, Funny)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364294)

22 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord, you know that I like you." He said to him, "Feed my lambs."

23 He then said to him a second time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord, you know that I like you." He said to him, "Tend my sheep." He said to him, "But I just fed them." He said to him, "I don't care, feed them again."

24 He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you like me?" Peter was distressed that he was going to have to feed the sheep again and he said to him, "Lord, you know everything; you know that I like you." (Jesus) said to him, "My sheep need feedin', so get movin'."

25 To that Peter replied, "Look man, those sheep are full to the brim. I couldn't feed them any more if I wanted to." And he said to him, "So what, I want to see you work."

26 In that moment a shepherd with a herd of one thousand sheep passe by. And Jesus said to him, "Yo, shepherd! I'm Jesus, the son of God; you might have heard of me. Mind if I borrow your herd for a moment?" And he said to him, "No problem, go ahead."

27 And Jesus pointed to the borrowed herd and said to Peter, "Those sheep don't look fed to me. Get your lazy ass moving!" And the shepherd said to him, "Whoa, Jesus. You're a real dick."


Excerpt from one of the Dead Sea Scrolls entitled "Jesus was a dick and unlike those sycophantic apostles I have the guts to write it down", accredited to an author only known as "Bob".

Re:John 21, 15-17 (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364361)

I've got it! Jesus is Captain Jack [wikipedia.org] !

Paint and Sound (2, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364214)

I remember something from about 10 years ago about people running an LP pickup through the grooves made in paint by a painters brush. The idea is that sound makes the brush vibrate and records the sounds in the paint.

Apparently they were able to get the sound of the word "blue" out of a patch of blue paint so this painter must have been talking to himself (or somebody else) while he worked.

Re:Paint and Sound (2, Insightful)

Threni (635302) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364243)

> I remember something from about 10 years ago about people running an LP pickup
> through the grooves made in paint by a painters brush. The idea is that sound
> makes the brush vibrate and records the sounds in the paint.
>
> Apparently they were able to get the sound of the word "blue" out of a patch
> of blue paint so this painter must have been talking to himself (or somebody
> else) while he worked.

It's hard to imagine with half a brain anyone believing for more than a second that this technique would ever be possible.

Re:Paint and Sound (2, Informative)

$sjfsjf (862288) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364346)

Indeed, Archaeoacoustics [chello.se] However this technique has never been used to recover sounds from actual historical pots or paintings. I wonder why not, if their tests have been so sucessful... Maybe it only works if you know what you are supposed to be hearing, 'Here's to my sweet Satan' anyone?

Re:Paint and Sound (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364491)

Thanks for the link. Its interesting that they really only tried low tech approaches. Lasers have more recently been used to digitise phonograph records, and I imagine that you could attack a surface with an electron microscope and digitally convert the profile to sounds.

Maybe a laser could even detect the original surface of a painting, under coatings which were added later.

Is it just me... (1)

Symbiosis (39537) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364239)

Or does Leonardo Da Vinci kind of sound like Jabba the Hut?

So (5, Funny)

nickthisname (630860) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364262)

We now know what Da Vinci would have sounded like when he said:
"Someone please shoot Dan Brown."

Has anyone tested this tech? (2, Insightful)

Zaphod2016 (971897) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364276)

I think this is a neat idea (although an obvious plant by some marketing parasites) but I have to ask: has anyone tested this?

Specifically: has anyone recorded a voice, recorded an MRI, and generated a voice? Did they match? Were they close?

Re:Has anyone tested this tech? (1)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364526)

You don't need to test it to know it's a lot of bunk.

It's a given that a female will usually have a "female voice" (not just pitch but formants, inflection patterns etc also), and a male a male one. For physiological reasons larger people tend to have deeper voices, and smaller people higher ones, but not always so. A larger nasal cavity (big nose) will make nasalized phonemes more pronounced.

Beyond that, a skelton will tell you nothing of the quality of someone's voice, their accent, whether it indeed is a high or low voice (or the spectral details in general), their speech patterns, etc, etc.

For all we know Leonardo was a castrato who stuttered with a fake french accent and Mona Lisa had a nasty high pitched whiney voice.

Give it up one more time for the Japanese (1)

Thaidog (235587) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364315)

Always using their technologies the right way... wow!!!

Now let's make a singing trout out of Machiavelli. (1)

Bruce McBruce (791094) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364321)

Man. The possibilities for humor with technology like this are almost limitless.

Larynx != Bone (1)

Saeger (456549) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364358)

I'm no doctor, but I know enough that our larynx and vocal cords are made of fleshy muscle; not bone.

In order to accurately figure out what somebody's voice might have sounded like -- minus unknowable unique accent quirks -- would require a DNA sample and technology we don't yet have(1).

(1) Namely, vastly faster computers that can take some source DNA and quickly "grow" (protein unfolding, etc) an adult human being in simulation, then send the right signals to the nerves to make virtual speech. Complicated, yes, but doable in a couple decades thanks to accelerating progress.

Re:Larynx != Bone (1)

IckySplat (218140) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364565)

If you completely simulated a human in a computer
You it be murder to delete the file?

Re:Larynx != Bone (1)

IckySplat (218140) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364571)

^would it

Damn, friking keyboard :)

Re:Larynx != Bone (1)

The Evil Couch (621105) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364677)

I think that Maxis answered this question in the FAQ for the original Sim City.

The answer was yes. So you should never stop playing Sim City.

Apparently, there are 10 million warrants out for my arrest in Evil Couch City.

And what the Mona Lisas voice said.... (4, Funny)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364376)

"Leonardo , I *really* need to go to the toilet! Now!"

Oddly enough they both said... (1)

Winlin (42941) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364387)

BRAAAIINNSSS!!!!

Well, that, or "Send more acoustic researchers."

Question (1)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364431)

How many real criminals got away with real crimes while the boys in the lab were abusing the facilities for something so pointless?

Never mind, if the Japanese are anything like the rest of the world, they probably just hassled a few extra motorists.

Re:Question (1)

Flaming Babies (904475) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364599)

What would the boys in the 'Japan Acoustic Lab' have to do with stopping real criminals?
They used methods employed in criminal investigations.
The lab's chief is a former police engineer.
They aren't the police.
And as far as I know, Robert Langdon doesn't work in the lab...

Quit screwing with this da vinci crap (2, Funny)

skeptictank (841287) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364437)

and Get back to work on the robotic woman.

Re:Quit screwing with this da vinci crap (1)

zivr (902393) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364764)

This could be useful, I would pay a bit extra to hear my robotic woman talk dirty to me in a historical figure's voice...

This is sooooo wrong... (1)

geekbeater (967717) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364489)

...everyone knows Da Vinci had a lisp, walked funny, and had a penchant for "show tunes"... (eyes roll)

Lets see them analyze the face... (1)

kiwioddBall (646813) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364523)

... and structure of someone who is still alive and see how close they get.

Do you think Leonardo would have read Slashdot? (2, Informative)

iBod (534920) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364548)

I think he'd have been very interested indeed in the maiden flight of the Airbus A380 yesterday, which received NO coverage whatsoever on Slashdot (stuff that matters!) and would be pissed off by this lame article about some fools trying to cash-in on his name (stuff that matters not).

Re:Do you think Leonardo would have read Slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15364775)

Aye, it flew over my office in Bristol as I was leaving yesterday. It was a really low pass at about 500 feet and was absolutely incredible.
 
What surprised me was how quiet it was - okay so it's not a whisper jet, but it's much quieter than a 747. It also seemed to be making a weird hissing noise periodically, but I digress...
 
Yes, you're right, Da Vinci would have been on the cutting edge of technology, he wouldn't have been looking backwards, but forwards.

Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15364567)

"Japanese Lab Creates 'Da Vinci' Voices"

But can the voices correctly pronounce 'Cadillac'?

All right!!! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15364595)

Now we're one step closer to ending world hunger and saving the environment and... ...oh wait...

Oh goody! (2, Funny)

CamDawg (970808) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364609)

Now we can look forward to authentic Da Vinci-voiced endorsements for vacuum cleaners. Ah, what a glorious age in which we live.

Listening to da Vinci (1)

ChuckDivine (221595) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364732)

Some people have been listening to Da Vinci for centuries.

How's that? Da Vinci was a brilliant man who left us not only some wonderful paintings but also a wealth of writings. To listen to the real Da Vinci, all you need to do is look at his art or read his writings -- carefully, with understanding, of course.

Hearing some lab's claimed reproduction of his physical voice really doesn't help us to understand the man or his thoughts.

Don't call him Da Vinci (3, Informative)

Buchenskjoll (762354) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364784)

Please call him Leonardo, only Dan Brown calls him Da Vinci. I don't think Leonardo would have answered to it.

I hear dead people! (3, Funny)

jimwatters (110653) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364808)

I hear dead people!

In other news, (1)

ZenKen (963177) | more than 8 years ago | (#15364818)

someone is actually trying to do something important. A time machine would be better.
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