Hackaday readers could know [Victor Scheinman] as the pioneer who constructed some of the initially sensible robot arms. But what was a kid like that carrying out in higher college? Thanks to a film about the 1958 New York City Science Fair, we know he was developing a voice-activated typewriter. Do not think it? Watch it your self beneath, thanks to [David Hoffman].
Ok, we know. Voice typing is no significant deal these days, and, frankly, [Victor’s] try is not going to amaze any one these days. But assume about it. It was 1958! All these boat anchor ham radios behind him are not antiques. That is what radios looked like in 1958. Plus, the kid is 16 years old. We’d say he did quite darn excellent!
Not that he didn’t continue to do properly. His project earned him a spot at MIT, worked for Boeing, NASA, and Stanford. You can study an interview from 2010 that sums up quite a few of his experiences. In 2016, [Victor] passed away, but his legacy lives on not only in this newsreel footage but in robot arms these days that nonetheless bear a striking resemblance to his MIT Arm.
The film is not extremely detailed about precisely how the typewriter worked. But it only recognized letters, and possibly not all 26 letters at that. We have a feeling that analog filters picked up the variations in a handful of letters (the COND BANK block on the chalkboard) and triggered a solenoid to strike the important. There are two amplifiers feeding that block from one particular microphone, so possibly there was a bit of a phase delay to choose up two frequencies. Or possibly one particular was just an analog threshold trigger to figure out you have been in fact speaking.
But we are not positive. In a eulogy written by [Victor’s] buddy [Harvey Cohen], we can study:
For this goal he adapted electromagnets to actuate the keys of a manual typewriter. The user spoke into a microphone, and the signal was classified (as A, B, C, … and so on) by analogue circuity. This was in 1959… Understandably — this project won for Vic a Science Prize — and entry into MIT…In discussions I as soon as had with Vic he reported the (analogue) algorithms he devised have been in truth primarily the very same as have been then getting created in the early AI Labs.
So possibly there was much more to it than we believed. But, regardless, it was fairly an accomplishment.
A 2016 try at carrying out one thing related has the advantage of practically 60 years of progress behind it. If you do not thoughts sharing your speech with Google or Amazon, such a project now is downright basic.