Darrell Johnson’s Mechanical Listener

Darrell Johnson knew that, if you have to give a speech, it helps to practice it first in front of someone. But sometimes you can't find a willing listener. That's where his 'mechanical listener' came in. It was a sculptured head with eyes that would light up and eyelids that would flutter in response to the sound of a human voice. These movements, he reasoned, would "portray a feeling of life, participation, and cooperation to thereby stimulate expression relative to the topic or subject under consideration with resultant improvement and intensity of such expression."

He was granted Patent No. 2,948,069 for this invention in 1960.

It would be interesting to know if a prototype of this thing still survives, hidden away in someone's attic.

Arizona Daily Star - Aug 14, 1960

Springfield Daily News - Oct 16, 1960

     Posted By: Alex - Fri Jul 15, 2022
     Category: Patents | AI, Robots and Other Automatons | 1960s

Not to worry. We'll soon have terminators that will serve this function nicely.
Posted by Virtual in Carnate on 07/15/22 at 05:43 AM
Sexy Kill Bot. Make sure switch is in correct position.
I hope this feature is added to the latest generation of Real Dolls. I also hope the company makes better male Real Dolls.
Posted by Yudith on 07/15/22 at 06:28 AM
Sort of like going to Disneyland and one of the halls of talking dummies.
Posted by KDP on 07/15/22 at 10:13 AM
First step on a long road. Current incarnation is Erica. Japanese (of course), worked as a TV newsreader before she had working arms or legs. Very interesting little documentary on her is: "Erica: Man Made" (available, the last time I checked on YouTube). It's either fascinating or utter horror, depending on your mindset.

Other talking heads of note: Sophia, Geminoid-DK, Junko Chihira, and Nadine. There may be others -- I haven't gone down that rabbit hole in a long time.
Posted by Phideaux on 07/15/22 at 01:56 PM
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