Robotics
Boy Builds Robot That Obeys His Voice

From Popular Science, 1931 (Via Mostly Forbidden Zone)

30 thoughts on “Boy Builds Robot That Obeys His Voice

  1. Word recognition in 1931?  I don’t buy that at all.  I could imagine him building something that responds to sounds in general, like ‘The Clapper’.  Any sound would start the ‘handshake’.  Another would stop it.  By using the telephone handset as the microphone he ensures the only sound his circuit ‘hears’ is his voice, completing the illusion that it is his words that control the robot and not just a simple vox circuit.

    Maybe multiple commands could even be achieved this way.  Just have an amplifier stage, followed by a filter stage (like a speaker crossover) followed by multiple vox circuits, one for each crossover output.  Then he could send different commands by varying the pitch of his voice.

    Far more likely this was either a ‘Mechanical Turk’ or the article is a hoax entirely.

  2. The 60s toy Robot Commando had a “voice-activation” scheme that involved pre-setting the action on the remote, then shouting into the “mic” to trigger it.  Of course, it looks like it’s obeying voice commands in the commercial, which is all that matters. 
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_awi5nS7w8Y
    Or perhaps the young inventor merely sealed Bugs the dog inside Bugs the robot.

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Mark Frauenfelder is the founding Editor-in-Chief of Make: magazine, and the founder of the popular Boing Boing blog.

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