They're alive and they're coming for us all



This device sythesises human speech - but on an analogue upright piano. Using a computer to parse the complex speech patterns according to a Fourier series, the mechanical fingers make dozens of key-presses that emulate the rhythms and cadences of the voice, putting various clusters of emphasis differently across the 12 chromatic pitches over the whole keyboard.

The Voder, made by Homer Dudley, was the first device that could generate continuous human speech electronically. Developed by telephone operators, the device was 'played' by a highly-trained technician, using a keyboard and foot pedal.