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Information On Philips' "Coffee" Machine?

timothy posted about 4 years ago | from the delicious-obscurities-in-your-cranium dept.

Canada 168

RogueWarrior65 writes "In the early 1970s, I was fortunate to discover the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto. For the Gen Y'ers out there who never knew a world without computers, to Gen X'ers, this place was the future. Computer technology was just beginning to be exposed to the world and this museum had the coolest exhibits around, most of which were interactive. One of the exhibits was a machine reminiscent of an old vending machine. On its face was a large circuit board with lights that spelled out the word 'coffee.' There were several dials and a button, which, when pressed, would cause the machine to speak the word. The knobs adjusted various inflections and tonal qualities of the speech. Feeling nostalgic, I inquired of the museum about this exhibit. Was it still there? If not, was it in storage somewhere and could I purchase it. I was told that the machine was developed by Philips Electronics but the exhibit was no longer in their collection. Then I asked Philips about it and was told that no, they have nothing in the archives, no schematics or parts list. A Google search is came up empty as well. Does anyone have any more information on this gadget?"

cancel ×

168 comments

dorkface (2, Insightful)

parasite (14751) | about 4 years ago | (#32787308)

has Slashdot.org turned into this guy's personal Wanted/Looking classified ads section? How did this get posted

Re:dorkface (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32787382)

++digg

Re:dorkface (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32787468)

digg is reddit's bitch

Re:dorkface (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32787782)

They should really just go ahead and change it to "nigg."

Re:dorkface (1)

lewko (195646) | about 4 years ago | (#32789634)

Naggers?

Re:dorkface (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32788286)

Slashdot -> Digg -> Reddit -> Slashdot -> Slashdot -> Digg -> Reddit -> Slashdot -> Digg -> Reddit -> Slashdot -> Digg -> Reddit -> ...

The universe is collapsing on itself. The Doctor failed!

Vocoder? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32787326)

Sounds a little like a vocoder [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Vocoder? (1)

pinkj (521155) | about 4 years ago | (#32787380)

By the sound of the summary, a vocoder wouldn't be able to do inflection or tonal differences. This sounds like a big text-to-speech machine for the word "coffee."

Re:Vocoder? (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 4 years ago | (#32787562)

It sounds less like a text-to-speech engine than a vocoder. Seems like a formant synthesizer with tunables hardcoded to produce the word coffee.

Re:Vocoder? (5, Informative)

AJWM (19027) | about 4 years ago | (#32787660)

It had four distinct circuits, one for each phoneme ("C", "O", "FF" and "EE"), and a sequencer. You could vary the timing of the whole thing, and the individual frequencies of the phonemes. The "C" and "FF" sounds had a lot of white noise, with the "C" (well, "K") more plosive. The "O" and "EE" were purer waves, each a mix of two frequencies (which could be tweaked). Shorten the sequence timing and increase the frequency of that last "EE" phoneme and it sounded more like "KOFEEP?"

It wouldn't be too hard to reproduce the circuitry -- a handful of tunable oscillators, a couple of noise sources, and a sequencer -- but I think the questioner is more interested in an exact, not just functional, replica.

Re:Vocoder? (1)

maratumba (1409075) | about 4 years ago | (#32788466)

Now that's what I call "informative"

Re:Vocoder? (2, Informative)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | about 4 years ago | (#32788720)

What if I wanted it to say Coffee in English instead of Dutch? Could I use the same hardware?

Best ask slashdot in a long time (0, Redundant)

mentaldrano (674767) | about 4 years ago | (#32787348)

Let's see if we can leverage the wisdom of the crowds, or if crowds are all idiots (slashdot included, of course).

Re:Best ask slashdot in a long time (-1, Offtopic)

eclectro (227083) | about 4 years ago | (#32787480)

Let's see if we can leverage the wisdom of the crowds, or if crowds are all idiots (slashdot included, of course).

Hi, this is the smarmy sarcastic post that will be kinda funny but not really and will distract the crowd from garnering the bits of their collected wisdom and divert them to a completely unrelated subject but still will be tangentially related enough [amazon.com] that it won't be considered offtopic.

Re:Best ask slashdot in a long time (-1, Flamebait)

Critical Facilities (850111) | about 4 years ago | (#32787654)

Hi, this is the smarmy sarcastic post that will be kinda funny but not really and will distract the crowd

This will be the condescending post, which will immediately seize your bait, and begin you refute your link, with examples [wikipedia.org] of how little [juanvaldez.com] you know about the subject [videojug.com] . I will question your ability to comprehend basic ideas, and make myself feel superior by elaborately phrasing my reply so as to achieve the most eloquent, yet sardonic tone that can be expressed by an electronic medium.

Re:Best ask slashdot in a long time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32788214)

Hello. This is the polite, anonymous post with the correct information that everyone ignores.

Re:Best ask slashdot in a long time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32788350)

Greetings. This is the "MOD PARENT UP -- CORRECT" post that comes along 18 hours after the topic hits the front page (ie. approximately 12 hours after the crowd considers the topic old and busted).

Re:Best ask slashdot in a long time (1)

lewko (195646) | about 4 years ago | (#32789640)

This is the post which is just as worthless as those which preceded it, yet which somehow gets modded up to the utter annoyance of earlier posters.

Re:Best ask slashdot in a long time (5, Insightful)

blind biker (1066130) | about 4 years ago | (#32787524)

I was going to post the exact same META: this is by far the best, most interesting Ask Slashdot entry I have ever seen. I wish the asker good luck.

By the way, I'm a hardware-kind-of-guy, and am of the same (retro) generation, so I will be following this adventure with much interest!

Re:Best ask slashdot in a long time (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 4 years ago | (#32787642)

The bad part is that now I have the voice of that machine stuck in my head, doing its strange variations on the word. Also, I need coffee.

a sense of purpose? (-1, Troll)

jappleng (1805148) | about 4 years ago | (#32787356)

What is the purpose of this article, other than freely advertising the Phillips brand? I don't know how this is news, it's more of a forum discussion if anything. :/

Re:a sense of purpose? (3, Insightful)

evel aka matt (123728) | about 4 years ago | (#32787374)

The purpose seems to be to "ASK SLASHDOT."

Re:a sense of purpose? (0, Flamebait)

Thoggins (1162149) | about 4 years ago | (#32787386)

Mod parent troll. The topic is 'Ask Slashdot', asshat. That's the purpose. It IS a forum discussion.

Re:a sense of purpose? (1, Offtopic)

jappleng (1805148) | about 4 years ago | (#32787394)

Please disregard my previous post as I thought it had said Gadgets: and not Ask /. I should probably sleep hence hallucinations are now inevitable.

This site describes the machine (5, Informative)

daniel_i_l (1655579) | about 4 years ago | (#32787388)

Here: The Science Page [192.197.62.35] I found the following: "A machine which said 'COFFEE' which was located in the center hall. The machine was built from discrete components and had a series of coils and capacitors for filters and oscillators. Lamps lit up the letters "C", "O", "FF" and "EE" as the machine spoke. Visitors could vary parameters using analog pots to make the word sound different." So maybe Mark Csele [192.197.62.35] knows.

Re:This site describes the machine (4, Interesting)

earthforce_1 (454968) | about 4 years ago | (#32787542)

I remember playing with that machine way back in the early days of the science centre - I didn't think anybody else on the planet even remembered it.

I doubt that Philips would have done a one off project like that - it probably would have been subcontracted to a small, local engineering firm.

Re:This site describes the machine (1)

ClickOnThis (137803) | about 4 years ago | (#32787582)

I remember playing with that machine way back in the early days of the science centre - I didn't think anybody else on the planet even remembered it.

Neither did I. That machine was a riot. What a blast from the past...

Re:This site describes the machine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32787718)

A riot?

Well, simpler times, simpler minds.

Re:This site describes the machine (0, Offtopic)

Psion (2244) | about 4 years ago | (#32787858)

"Riot" was slang for fun or funny. Such vernacularisms often appear confusing or even contradictory in meaning to the uninitiated, and thus their use demonstrates a deliberate attempt to exclude outsiders from a particular community. Slang and similar sociolects also serve to bind sociological groups together by allowing such groups to participate in a shared culture.

Re:This site describes the machine (2, Informative)

EdIII (1114411) | about 4 years ago | (#32787898)

For shizzle my nizzle! Keep laying down the skinny for them fools.

Re:This site describes the machine (1)

Psion (2244) | about 4 years ago | (#32787994)

We reach, brother.

Re:This site describes the machine (1)

Wain13001 (1119071) | about 4 years ago | (#32789360)

Hey, you know what they say: see a broad to get dat booty yak 'em... ...leg 'er down a smack 'em yak 'em!

(Golly!)

Re:This site describes the machine (3, Funny)

Andrewkov (140579) | about 4 years ago | (#32789396)

Don't panic everyone, I speak jive..

Re:This site describes the machine (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | about 4 years ago | (#32787986)

Get a grip, daddyo.

Re:This site describes the machine (3, Funny)

Psion (2244) | about 4 years ago | (#32788022)

Herbert.

Re:This site describes the machine (1)

Unka Willbur (1771596) | about 4 years ago | (#32788674)

Gonna lick his hand and wag my tail!

birth control video (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32788960)

Off topic but, does anyone remember the birth control animated video in the life section at the Ontario Science Centre? Everyone I tell about this video doesn't believe me. I just need one person to tell me it existed so I won't doubt my sanity. I just remember it was an animated video that was rather graphic showing various methods of birth control are used. Anyone?

Re:This site describes the machine (1)

AJWM (19027) | about 4 years ago | (#32787610)

I remember that machine well -- I must have spent well over an hour on it. I just didn't remember where it was. (I'd thought I'd seen it at one of the World's Fairs, and more probably New York in '65 than Montreal in '67. But it's possible it was at the Science Center -- unless they exhibited elsewhere before that.)

Speech technology was becoming fairly self-contained by mid-70s, so I thought it was quite a bit earlier.

Re:This site describes the machine (1)

Sowelu (713889) | about 4 years ago | (#32787622)

More likely, instead of being Philips itself, it was some employees who thought it would be cool and then the company said "Hey, that's awesome, keep doing that and we'll put our name on it".

Re:This site describes the machine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32788226)

You don't get it for free Mr. Corprat, cough up some funding right now!!

But really, no organization like the Ontario Science Center has a lot of spare cash or parts lying around. The way to do it is to draw up the design the same as you would for an ad campaign and then submit it to the right person at a company and see if they will fund it. It helps if you have a good working relationship with them already and have an idea what would appeal to them. In some cases the company will supply their parts for the project and some engineering help.

Re:This site describes the machine (1)

tomhudson (43916) | about 4 years ago | (#32788126)

That's because everyone else was too busy losing at tic-tac-toe.

Re:This site describes the machine (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32788262)

A strange game. The only winning move is not to play.

How about a good game of chess?

Re:This site describes the machine (1)

tomhudson (43916) | about 4 years ago | (#32789240)

I watched WarGames last night (It was on THIS TV)

It was amazing - like stepping into a time warp. The mother's a real estate agent, she's on the phone talking about creative financing and a balloon payment in 5 years but who cares because you'll be able to refinance at that point ... and this was in 1983, a quarter-century before the real estate bubble meltdown.

War dialing....

Social engineering for logon info ...

"Hacking" the payphone (we did it without having to unscrew the mouth piece - I guess they added that because showing the world how to really do it would have been a problem).

External 8" floppy drives.

Audio modems @ 300 baud (dropping down to 110).

Klunk-klunk-klunk-keyboards.

The same now-crappy-but-at-the-time-really-neat voice synthesizer from Radio Shack Color Computer for all the "computer voices"

Re:This site describes the machine (5, Informative)

Niris (1443675) | about 4 years ago | (#32787576)

Interesting, but for other people: WARNING! Site has music in the background. Don't open at work with your speakers up, like this retard did :p "She blinded me with SCIENCE!"

Re:This site describes the machine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32789038)

At least they were nice enough to use a WAV instead of Quicktime MIDI.

Quicktime MIDI - When you've absolutely got to lock up every non-Apple browser. Works the first time, every time.

Sure (4, Funny)

JustOK (667959) | about 4 years ago | (#32787396)

Sure you aren't thinking about a Tim Horton's drive thru?

Re:Sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32787960)

I love Tim Horton's

See Evoluon website (5, Informative)

josgeluk (842109) | about 4 years ago | (#32787406)

This machine used to be on permanent display in the Evoluon, a museum dedicated to technology and modern art in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. See here [www.dse.nl] . This site is run by a man named Kees who may be able to answer your questions.

Re:See Evoluon website (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32787450)

This machine used to be on permanent display

DOES NOT COMPUTE

Re:See Evoluon website (4, Funny)

wiredlogic (135348) | about 4 years ago | (#32787988)

Why not ponder it over a cup of COFFEE.

Also (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32787454)

Also, check out this dutch forum ( Google Translation [google.com] ) for more info and pics.

Re:Also (1)

JewGold (924683) | about 4 years ago | (#32787726)

The translation leaves a bit to be desired:

"Several times a day suppositories made agreements with a checklist for a systematic check-ups failed to find, and believe me, they were there. Onderhoud had het er druk mee. Maintenance had it busy."

Re:Also (3, Informative)

Venerable Vegetable (1003177) | about 4 years ago | (#32788458)

Translation from someone fluent in dutch but less so in english:

"Several times a day the museum atttendants performed (using a checklist) a systemetic check to find defective exhibitions, and believe me, they were there. They kept maintenance busy."

Anyway, the forum, while interesting for the stories and links, doesn't know where the thing is either. One poster even writes he contacted the museum and was told it was destroyed (sent to junkyard) but that comment is unsubstantiated.

Re:See Evoluon website (1)

ballpoint (192660) | about 4 years ago | (#32787472)

I remember three expositions from a class trip ages ago to the Evoluon: a spiral spring made of glass that was continuously compressed and relaxed, a radar that measured the speed of your hand and The Device That Said Poffee.

Re:video link evoluon machine in action (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32787486)

Right at the end of this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-_pZV3tDiw

Re:video link evoluon machine in action (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32787544)

For those too lazy to copy/paste: The "machine" appears at 7:34 [youtube.com]

Re:video link evoluon machine in action (2, Informative)

aliquis (678370) | about 4 years ago | (#32787712)

Rather 06:59, unless the head 2-3 seconds before is part of it to.

Re:video link evoluon machine in action (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 4 years ago | (#32788376)

Haha I thought I was watching an episode of the Venture Brothers for a moment.

Go for super science!

Re:video link evoluon machine in action (2, Funny)

Verdatum (1257828) | about 4 years ago | (#32787678)

This video was amazing, thanks for the link! A must-see for any fans of 1960s Venture Brothers type super-science.

Re:See Evoluon website (5, Funny)

ushering05401 (1086795) | about 4 years ago | (#32787556)

This machine used to be on permanent display in the Evoluon, a museum dedicated to technology and modern art in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. See here [www.dse.nl] . This site is run by a man named Kees who may be able to answer your questions.

You would make a great NPC.

Re:See Evoluon website (1)

Kell Bengal (711123) | about 4 years ago | (#32787588)

If you bring him 10 rat tails he will give you a medallion of +1 dexterity.

Re:See Evoluon website (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32789290)

DING!

NPC? (1)

bagofbeans (567926) | about 4 years ago | (#32787596)

Nippon Precision Components?? It's the Netherlands, not Japan. Shirley you mean NXP....

Re:NPC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32788176)

and don't call me Shirley.....

Re:NPC? (1)

Verdatum (1257828) | about 4 years ago | (#32789016)

Oh I see, NXP, a Phillips company...you should be ashamed of yourself for this joke. Seriously. Wow.

This may be a reference to it (3, Interesting)

DirkBalognapantz (609779) | about 4 years ago | (#32787442)

So, a quick search brought up this article from 2008 by Paul Shindman. http://www.canadasisrael.ca/2008/09/can-you-still-hitchhike-in-canada/ [canadasisrael.ca] It looks to be just a reference, but you may want to contact Paul directly to see if he knows anything else. Happy hunting.

Buy it? You gonna display it publicly? (2, Interesting)

purplemecha (1823386) | about 4 years ago | (#32787448)

If you buy it. What do you plan on doing with it. Will you display it in a museum. Or will you keep it to your self. If you keep it to your self, I hope you make a good quality video of it. I wish you success in finding it.

Re:Buy it? You gonna display it publicly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32787522)

I think he's just looking for a drink of coffee.

Re:Buy it? You gonna display it publicly? (4, Funny)

Hatta (162192) | about 4 years ago | (#32787860)

It belongs in a museum!

Re:Buy it? You gonna display it publicly? (1)

Verdatum (1257828) | about 4 years ago | (#32789094)

d00d, if the Nazis get ahold of this machine, and are like, "At last, we will be able to hear the word 'coffee' modulated in various funny ways." And then they fire it up, and it causes their heads to melt and/or explode...then that would be awesome.

Go fuck yoself (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32787514)

Who gives a shit?!

Re:Go fuck yoself (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 4 years ago | (#32788396)

Who gives a shit?!

You're on the wrong site, dude.

Interactive science slowly being eradicated (5, Insightful)

p3bf (459005) | about 4 years ago | (#32787528)

I loved that "coffee" machine. And all the interactive exhibits that are no longer there, everything from the huge logic gates to the parabolic microphones. At some point I think society switched from learning how to build things to just using them, and a lot of these kinds of changes reflect themselves in our "science" centres as well.

Re:Interactive science slowly being eradicated (1)

TMB (70166) | about 4 years ago | (#32789286)

Oh yeah, those logic gates with the ping pong balls were awesome! Probably my first taste of programming!

Re:Interactive science slowly being eradicated (1)

bendodge (998616) | about 4 years ago | (#32789586)

Trivia: Evoluon [evoluon.com] , the name of the original museum/building built by Philips to celebrate its 75th anniversary, is now a meeting/event center. While it's a shame that the exhibits aren't there, it's nice that the building has been kept up.

Some ideas (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32787534)

If this was indeed built by Philips Electronics, maybe you can make use of these possible leads. First, the NINT technology museum in Amsterdam might have information in their archives, as they used to have quite a bit of Philips technology in their exhibits (various demo programs running on P2000s come to mind). Second, the Evoluon in Eindhoven (home of Philips Electronics) used to be a science/tech museum. They aren't now so ghod knows what happened to their collection. But both might be worth a shot.

On the same note, Philips has (obviously) close ties to the local university (tech uni Eindhoven), with their R&D there too ("natlab") thoug the national academic technology books collection resides in Delft (tech uni Delft). The respective university libraries have their catalogues online, of course.

evoluon (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32787574)

the machine was designed by philips and shown in the evoluon ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evoluon and http://www.evoluon.org/ ). you can find a little clip of it on youtube ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-_pZV3tDiw ) @ 6:55 and forward...

for me it was heaven as a kid... spending hours at that place... loved it!

Don't think it will help, but... (4, Interesting)

Kr3m3Puff (413047) | about 4 years ago | (#32787612)

The part of Philips that was into speech synthesis and recognition went through many different incarnations until it became part of Nuance.

"Coffee" addict (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32787668)

Fondest memories of trip to Toronto in my youth was the Science Center and CN Tower. For years, my brother and I could crack each other up by just saying the word, "Coffee".

Amarok (2, Interesting)

CookedGryphon (1096241) | about 4 years ago | (#32787722)

In Amarok by Mike Oldfield, there's a bit that repeatedly goes "COFFEE, CO CO COFFEE" in weird a synthy voice. Is that related or a coincidence?

Re:Amarok (1)

the_other_chewey (1119125) | about 4 years ago | (#32787846)

I think it's "happy", not "coffee". Haven't listened to it in a while though.

Re:Amarok (1)

CookedGryphon (1096241) | about 4 years ago | (#32787862)

Okay, apparently neither have I. I feel more than a little bit silly now.

Re:Amarok (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32787968)

Sheesh, I'm glad that isn't the case with Rhythmbox.

Happy? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32788208)

It's "Happy"

In a completely unrelated story one of the 7 Dwarfs was deported from Budapest today. As they escorted him onto the plane, the Hungarian immigration officials were heard to say:
"Come Happy, Leave Hungary"

Re:Amarok (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32789116)

I believe the robotic voice says "Happy?" in Amarok, not "Coffee". This goes along with it being the final album that got Mike out of his contract with Virgin Records, the album deliberately crashing from one tune to another so that a single couldn't be cut from it, and the "FUCK OFF RB" (Richard Branson, boss of Virgin) in morse code on the trumpet. See this excellent analysis [tubular.net] for more.

Re:Amarok (1)

icebike (68054) | about 4 years ago | (#32789232)

Odd, I went to Amazon and listened to a sample of the 60 minute single song album, and it included this very portion.

http://www.amazon.com/Amarok-Mike-Oldfield/dp/B00004T9AT [amazon.com]

I have no Idea if that is repeatable or if the samples are chosen at random.

Craigslist? (1)

PatPending (953482) | about 4 years ago | (#32788134)

Consider posting an announcement (or whatever) on Craigslist Ontario [craigslist.org]

Generation X cinema (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | about 4 years ago | (#32788194)

This machine makes an appearance when Tron and Flynn are kept as prisoners by Sark and forced to keep offering coffee until they get erased.

Try VTech toys..... (1)

spazekaat (991287) | about 4 years ago | (#32788332)

VTech used to have a few electronic toys which would sound out the words for each number key pressed. What was really funny was that, if one pressed 5 then 2 quickly enough, the resulting sound would be F****OU......great fun at otherwise boring engineering meetings (I used to work for them in the telecom division)... Needless to say, the toys division changed their design..... :-))))

Brings Back Memories (4, Funny)

jbhjbh (1848044) | about 4 years ago | (#32788372)

Around 1977 we took a family camping trip to Toronto. You should have seen us as we went sightseeing. Adam was walking, Jenn was in a stroller and April was in a backpack. One of my favorite memories was Jenn playing with this machine. It would simply say the word "coffee" and there was a dial on it that would make it sound differently. Jenn loved this machine and I remember we had to drag her away from it. When I sent this article to Jenn (who is now 36) she responded, "Aww, it's a shame it's gone. I wonder what could have happened to it. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go, um, make some coffee. In the closet."

Re: (1)

clint999 (1277046) | about 4 years ago | (#32788594)

Who gives a ****?!

Deaccessioned? (1)

dave562 (969951) | about 4 years ago | (#32788804)

I know that you mentioned that you already asked the museum, but have you spoken with the registrars? There should be a record of the deaccessioning process. They should at least be able to tell you what they did with it.

Coffee? We can DO coffee! (1)

DaneM (810927) | about 4 years ago | (#32788914)

While the "coffee" machine in the summary may be long gone, it is not without descendants!

BEHOLD: THE FUTURE!

http://tldp.org/HOWTO/Coffee.html [tldp.org]

Now your computer can actually MAKE coffee!

The past... (1)

moogaloonie (955355) | about 4 years ago | (#32788998)

Things were so futuristic back then.

Tracks Ontarians in a crowd! (5, Funny)

west (39918) | about 4 years ago | (#32789032)

I remember being somewhere in the mid-west in the 80's in a really crowded room when I heard someone someone ask for a coffee. In a different part of the room, another voice suddenly said "CoFFee!" in the unmistakable tone of the machine. Then another voice from somewhere else echoes "coffEE?". Within a second, a third voice replies "COFFee" in yet another tone.

I added my own, and then the four of us started to track each other down through the crowd with cries of

"CoFFeE?"

"COFFEE!"

Needless to say, the rest of the room thought we were insane or members of some bizarre cult.

I turned out there were three Ontarians and someone who had visited the Science Centre recently.

A lot of fun.

Here in Toronto, I still hear people of a certain age suddenly repeat "CofffEE!" for no apparent reason.

Freaks out the youngsters.

Bell Labs Speech Synth (1)

evilxyzzy (643335) | about 4 years ago | (#32789190)

This isn't a direct answer, however its of interest to people interested in this. Sadly however some of the links are broken or missing information. A member of the SynthDIY mailing list bought a Bell Labs Speech Board and put some info up here : http://www.oldcrows.net/~patchell/voicesynth/voicesynth.html [oldcrows.net] Sadly the link to the schematic is broken but I've emailed to see if he can fix it. Jim also did some experiments and eventually made an insanely complex vocal filter board : http://www.oldcrows.net/~patchell/vocalfilter/vocalfilter.html [oldcrows.net] He also did a board layout and sold some boards for a vocal filter : http://www.oldcrows.net/~patchell/synthmodules/vocalfilter.html [oldcrows.net] I rather expect that the Philips COFFEE machine is closely related to these sorts of circuits. I can't find a link right now, but there was an S-100 phonetic speech synth card that contained a bunch of ROMs and a complete set of vocal filters. It didn't use one of the several LSI chips that were around in the 70s/80s ( Votrax and friends ).

I found it! (2, Informative)

kmtv (609277) | about 4 years ago | (#32789254)

I'm told that after the machine was taken off display, it passed through several hands and is now the personal property of one Faheem Rasheed Najm. Sounds plausible to me.

Sonofabitch!! (1)

HotTuna (928802) | about 4 years ago | (#32789596)

I L O V E D that machine... My parents let me loose in the Science Centre throughout the late 70's and early 80's. It's been an inside joke between my wife (also a geek) and I for years... To this day, when she makes coffee she pronounces it like the machine used to when we last saw it - "COHEE?" What a blast from the past!
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