Video quality isn’t great, but fascinating, nonetheless.
Nothing to do with me, I might add. Just spotted it on YouTube.
cool! did you look at any of the old talking machines that came up in the related videos? digital is great, but oldtimey analog can be pretty awesome too
Funny you should mention that- I’ve had an interest in talking machines for some years, so, yes, I have come across mechanical voiceboxes and other devices that make vocal-like sounds before. I’m also fascinated by the The Voder, developed by Homer Dudley of Bell Labs for the 1939 New York Worlds Fair
– not mechanical as such, but a fascinating device all the same!
I live near a university that recent unloaded a few speech synthesis boxes that were designed to help handicapped people speak. Think Stephen Hawking.
The most sophisticated is called a Delta Talker. It has least 8 different voices including my favorite “Raspy Rita” which is sort of a coarse female(ish)whisper. All sorts of things about how exactly it speaks are programable including pitch and timing which allow the machine to sing. I haven’t had time to learn to program songs myself, but it has a few preset examples. Hearing Raspy Rita sing Amazing Grace is hilarious but really beautiful in an odd way.
The machine has a grid of buttons with customizable picture overlays so that a user can memorize sequences of images to spell out words or phrases. A handy feature is that after an initial key is pressed LEDs light up to show all of the keys that have been programmed as seconds in sequences that begin with that key. One, two, or more keys can make up a sequence and the LEDs continue in the same fashion for each subsequent key. When a sequence is complete, the appropriate phrase is spoken. It’s really a pretty brilliant system and I’m hoping at some point to find a way to use it as a controller for either non-speech sound or visuals.
Here’s some more interesting info on the vocoder that I just ran into.
It mentions a book called How To Wreck A Nice Beach: The Vocoder from World War II to Hip-Hop. Very cool bit of history.
Keep meaning to pick up that book. I’ve been in on eBay a few times. Vocoders are great. I have several, a standalone one (Korg DVP-1) and several synths with builtin vocoders, including a new purchase, a secondhand RedSound Darkstar with Vocoda chip from the late ’90s.
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