In researching an upcoming article, I came across this incredible machine from 1939: The VODER. It' considered to be the first electrical speech synthesizer - paving the way for the voice synthesis of the future. The VODER (Voice Operation DEmonstratoR) was created by Homer Dudley at Bell Labs and unveiled at the 1939 New York World's Fair. There's something wildly sinister about it's audio output which back in the 1930s must have seemed even more ominous.
This speech synthesis system allows an operator to create phrases of speech by using a special keyboard. When the keys are triggered in specific sequences, recognizable speech could be created from the talking machine. It's said that training for the machine took the best part of a year. See you in 1940!
Find out more about the VODER here: https://www.whatisthevoder.com/
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