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Oz school student creates talking robotic head

June 26, 2012 - Melbourne

A teenage student who hopes to work with a Hollywood animatronics studio in the future, has designed and built a robotic head for his Year 12 Research Project.

South Australian high student Marshall Tearle has programmed his robot to make a series of facial expressions and even talk, by moving its mouth in sync with voice sounds.

"I can program a sequence of movements and it will just run through it," the Daily Telegraph quoted Tearle as saying.

"So I can get it to look around and do natural-looking things. With the mouth I can feed audio into it and the mouth will move according to what the audio is doing, so if you have someone speaking it will look like the head is speaking," he said.

The 17-year-old started building robots with the help of his father, who then worked as a fitter and turner at Holden.

A technical studies teacher has also supported him.

"Imagining something and then having it physically in front of you a few months later is quite satisfying," he said.

"My dream job would be to do animatronics for films - it would be great to work for the Stan Winston studio, which did animatronics for films like Jurassic Park, Terminator and Avatar," he said.

Year 12 research project teacher Fred Jarrett said the robotic head was very "impressive".

"I'm in awe really, that somebody can create that," he said.

"Not just because Marshall is 17 years old... that anybody can be that dedicated and spend that much time, but also produce something that is obviously very sophisticated," he added.


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