Haskins Laboratories

The Science of the Spoken and Written Word

The Pattern Playback

Brought to you by Philip Rubin and Louis Goldstein, ©1996-2017, Haskins Laboratories
The Pattern Playback is an early talking machine that was built by Dr. Franklin S. Cooper and his colleagues at Haskins Laboratories in the late 1940s.
The construction and use of the Playback permitted a systematic study of the interactions between the individual sounds of speech. In turn, this led to pioneering work in the 1950s by Franklin S. Cooper, Pierre C. Delattre, Alvin M. Liberman, John M. Borst, Louis J. Gerstman, and many others on determining the underlying critical acoustic “cues” for speech. This research had a revolutionary effect on speech science, and was fundamental to the development of our modern techniques of speech synthesis, the development of reading machines for the blind, and the study of speech perception and recognition. The Pattern Playback was last used in an experimental study by Robert Remez, in 1976. The device now resides in the Museum at the Haskins Laboratories, in New Haven, Connecticut, where it is often shown to our many visitors.
We have attempted to capture a bit of this history and have provided a brief, virtual tour of the Pattern Playback.

Listen to and view selected sentences
Listen to a “bdg” continuum in AIFF format or in Sun AU format A diagram and operating principles of the Pattern Playback
Background information
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