Pink Trombone is a DIY mouth you can manipulate to form sounds

pink trombone 19385838 l
Jaromír Chalabala/123RF
Let’s be honest, if it weren’t for the faint whiff of NSFW material about its name, we would all click a link entitled “Pink Trombone” the moment we saw it.

A new web app created by Neil Thapen, a researcher at the Institute of Mathematics of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, it’s a pretty awesome creation: A disembodied mouth that you can manipulate to see how sounds are formed.

You probably won’t be using it to form any sounds other than guttural “Oh-ah-oo-ee-aa!” type noises but it’s an intriguing look at how the mouth’s soft and hard palate, tongue, lips, and oral and nasal cavity are manipulated to produce vowels and consonants, as well as varying pitch.

“Pink Trombone is an interactive articulatory speech synthesizer,” Thapen told Digital Trends. “That is, it creates speech by modeling — in a simplified way — the physical form and movements of the human vocal tract. Programs like this have been around for a long time, but the examples I’ve seen from academia tend to have unfriendly interfaces. I have tried to make one that is fun to use. You can move the tongue or lips around in real time with your fingers, and see what sound comes out.”

pink trombone screen shot 2017 03 21 at 17 40 11

Thapen said the web app has no real connection with his day job, which is research in logic. Instead, it ties in with his hobby of game development and making “interesting things that are fun to interact with.”

“I started working on it when my daughter began to speak,” he continued. “I was reading about the physical processes involved in speech production and thought it would be interesting to implement them on the computer at the same time as she was doing it in real life. Of course, she ended up learning much faster than I did.”

If you want to try it out, you can do so by clicking the link here. As far as gaining a basic understanding of speech and phonetics, and specifically how speech organs actually work, this is the best “hands-on” education you’re likely to get.

Gaming

As deaf gamers speak up, game studios are finally listening to those who can’t

Using social media, personal blogs and Twitch, a small group of deaf and hard-of-hearing players have been working to make their voices heard and improve accessibility in the gaming industry.
Music

Jam out in style with the 25 best playlists on Spotify

Music is the world's most potent drug, and the best playlists on Spotify will make you catch feelings. We've scoured the service for its top collections, and brought them together in one place -- for you.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime right now (October 2018)

Prime Video provides subscribers with access to a host of fantastic films, but sorting through the catalog can be an undertaking. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Netflix in October, from 'The Witch’ to ‘Black Panther’

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, subdued humor, or anything in between.
Emerging Tech

Drop everything and watch Boston Dynamics’ robo-dog dance to ‘Uptown Funk’

After a few years of Earthbound training, Boston Dynamics’ SpotMini robot dog is ready to take on Mars. Bruno Mars, to be precise. Check out Skynet's future pet as you've never seen it before.
Emerging Tech

Self-correcting quadcopter can keep itself aloft even if one rotor fails

Most quadcopters won't fly unless all four rotors are functioning. But what happens if one gets damaged during flight? Researchers from the Netherlands think they've come up with a solution.
Emerging Tech

MIT is building a new $1 billion college dedicated to all things A.I.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has announced a new $1 billion college of computing designed to offer the best possible education to future machine learning A.I. experts.
Emerging Tech

This gadget lets you sleep on airplanes without snuggling a stranger

Odd gadget, or a hug for your face? The Napup Fly+ is a travel pillow, sleep mask, and personal speaker system all rolled into one, attached to the back of the headrest to hold your head up.
Emerging Tech

From flying for fun to pro filmmaking, these are the best drones you can buy

In just the past few years, drones have transformed from a geeky hobbyist affair to a full-on cultural phenomenon. Here's a no-nonsense rundown of the best drones you can buy right now, no matter what kind of flying you plan to do.
Emerging Tech

Healthy mice born from two genetic mothers using stem cells, gene editing

Healthy mice have been born from two genetics mothers and later went on to bear healthy offspring of their own, according to a recent paper published by researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Emerging Tech

Japanese scientists are chewing over an ‘electric gum’ that never loses flavor

Researchers at Japan's Meiji University may have found the secret to unlimited chewing gum -- and it just involves zapping your tongue with electricity. Here's what makes it all work.
Smart Home

Vector, the engaging Alexa-like robot, is ready to roam around your home

Anyone who has ever watched Short Circuit or WALL-E has surely dreamed about having a robot buddy come live with them. Finally, that dream is now a reality. It's name is Vector, and it's available now.
Emerging Tech

Ekster 3.0 lets you ask, ‘Alexa, where did I leave my wallet?’

Ekster's newest smart wallet is its best yet. It's slimmer than ever, boasts a neat card-dispensing mechanism, and will even let you know where it is, thanks to smart speaker integration.
Emerging Tech

Johns Hopkins’ lab-grown human retina could lead to big insights

Scientists from Johns Hopkins University have successfully grown human retina tissue from scratch in a lab. The work could help with the development of new therapeutics related to eye diseases.