You know how Karaoke works right? You get handed a couple of microphones, stare at an obscenely large television and sing along to the lyric tracks that appear. Well, things are about to change thanks to a speaker named Cotodama.

The Cotodama speaker has already won a handful of awards including the Trade and Industry Innovative Technology award and Japan’s 2016 Good Design Award, and there’s no surprise why it’s won. This speaker is freaking awesome.

So why is it so cool? Well the speaker uses something aptly called Lyric Sync Technology, which generates specific fonts and motions to match the music. Think of a lyric video that you could find on YouTube, where the lyrics fly around and fade in and have some cool effects. This is built right into the front of the speaker, in a kind of hologram like fashion. How many times have you found yourself singing the wrong lyric, mumbling your way through the words trying to pass off like you know what’s being sung? Everyone has! Well no more.

The speaker knows what lyrics it needs to display thanks to PetitLyrics, Japan’s largest lyrics database which has built in song recognition and even its expression engine which is responsible for changing the fonts and animations.

Some tech specs include WiFi to connect to the free app which is compatible with a host of music streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music. The speaker itself can play a whole host of file formats too and has a range of 40Hz to 40kHz and has two coaxial loudspeakers and two drone cones. I’m hoping this speaker can actually hold its own in terms of quality, but we won’t know until we hear one in the flesh.

Jin Saito, the CEO of Cotodama and Creative Director of Six Inc comments; “The evolution of music technology has been developing so rapidly but what about lyrics? Even though lyrics play a crucial role in music composition, I felt there was an opportunity to develop and enhance lyrics using cutting edge technology. I believe music impacts hugely on people’s mind; it cheers you up when you are down or can get you in the mood for a big night out. Lyrics are one of the key elements that enable music to change emotions. I hope that more people can enjoy the power of lyrics and learn and appreciate more about their favourite songs through the Lyric speaker. In Japan, there is a culture of appreciating words themselves as art such as Shodo (calligraphy) and decorating your favourite words with Kakejiku (hanging scroll).Through making the Lyric speaker’s visuals with the artists and the programmers, we have strived to put Japanese aesthetics into our product and contribute to the world’s music industry.”

Although this does come at a price. It’s currently available on the market for £4,320 so it’s not cheap unfortunately, and probably won’t find itself taking over pubs and restaurant karaoke nights any time soon. But as a concept, it’s rather special. For more information, please visit the Cotodama website.

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Stef Murphy