Sunday, June 24, 2007
"My God!It talks!"
I had this kicking around on my hard-drive for a while so I thought I'd post it up. It's a recording from the 1939 World Trade Fair demonstrating Homer Dudleys Voder. The Voder was affectionately called Pedro after the Brazilian Emperor Dom Pedro whom, upon first hearing the telephone in 1876 declared "My God!It talks!". - science review 1939 article.
The Voder actually produced only two basic sounds: a tone generated by a radio valve to produce the vocal sounds and a hissing noise produced by a gas discharge tube to create the sibilants. These basic sounds were passed through a set of filters and an amplifier that mixed and modulated them. To get the machine to actually speak required an operator to manipulate a set of keys and a foot pedal to convert the hisses and tones into vowels, consonants, stops, and inflections. And the operator needed a year's practice just to master the keys. - real robot.