On Speech Synthesis Using Composited Periodic Waveforms

A project log for Reverse Engineering Nintendo LABO Waveform Cards

Use an oscilloscope emulator, a handful of audio samples, and a 3D-printer to create Waveform Cards for use with Nintendo's ToyCon Piano

Hunter IrvingHunter Irving 10/06/2018 at 04:150 Comments

Four minutes and fifty-nine seconds into my second LABO video, I hit on a popular question that many viewers seemed to have:

Would it be possible to create a Waveform Card that approximates human speech?

To begin with, this felt like a solid "no" to me - if you've ever watched human speech on an oscilloscope, you know that the waveform produced is far from periodic.

However, I noticed that the five vowel sounds ("Ah", "Ee", "Eh", "Ooh", and "Oh") did produce roughly periodic waveforms when spoken alone.

I made 5 more cards using samples from FL Studio's built-in speech synthesizer, and the results (even when digitized by the Switch's low-resolution infrared camera) were fairly impressive.

In a fervent, last-ditch effort to make speech synthesis on Nintendo LABO ToyCon Piano happen, I spent a while layering component vowel sounds in an attempt to approximate human speech.

The results weren't perfect, but with subtitles, I think you can hear what I was going for.

("I Like You" breaks down to "Ah-Ee Ah-Ee-(staccato "Eh" to make a "K" sound) "Eh"-(that blends into)-"Ooh")

I tried.

- Hunter