So just read through one of the links on the class blog, about this early (1939) voice synthesizer called The Voder, which reminds me of Darth Vader but that's a different story.
So anyway it's a really interesting approach to simulate English speech, especially after living in Japan for a few years now and realising what a phonetically-complicated language English is compared to its Japanese counterpart. I mean, look no further than Yamaha's Vocaloid line, which I suppose is much better known in pop culture via fictitious digital "divas" such as Hatsune Miku and co. Like seriously, these guys hold concerts. Word.
You go Japan.