For your edification and amusement: An articulator-based, rather than acoustic, speech synthesis device.
The original context, here on Botjunkie, says that the ultimate goal is a voice compression system for cellphones. I'm a bit confused about this — I *think* that the idea is that representing speech articulatorily will be less data-intensive than representing it acoustically, but that seems wildly improbable to me.
Here's the description of the system on the Takanishi Labs page. Amazingly, they even have a rubber set of vocal cords at work! (scroll down to see them in action).