Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
h a l f b a k e r y
This would work fine, except in terms of success.

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Talking Marble Face

It's real marble, and it talks to you.
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There's a frame with a glass window behind which is an alcove holding a marble bust.

You walk up to it and say "Hey marble bust. What's cooking'?" to which is says: "Nothing much. What's cooking' with you?" or possibly something clever. The lips move, the expression changes, the eyes open and close. It's real marble, not plastic or rubber.

The way it's done is there are actually dozens or even hundreds of busts arrayed behind the wall that each represent frames of the model talking and making different expressions. Each bust view is lined up with the viewing window via mirrors and lenses. The trick is that they can only be viewed when there's a light shining on them and they're in the dark unless that particular bust's light array is triggered. Picture one way glass that works when the people on the viewing side have the lights off, but they appear when the lights are turned on in that room.

So a program hears the viewer say something into the mic below the frame, then with off the shelf voice recognition/response technology comes up with something to say. It then synthesizes the voiced response and flashes momentary illumination on the correct sequence of faces that correspond to the vocal synthesizer to make it appear as if a single face is talking. An O sound being spoken would trigger lights to illuminate the face making an O sound for the appropriate amount of time. An E sound lights up the E face, etc.

Put it in a booth and charge a buck or so to talk to a statue. Stick it in an amusement arcade, haunted house, that sort of thing.

I put it under "product:mirror" because it would be sort of like the magic mirror from Snow White. Plus there's no talking statue category.

P.S. Of course you could drop the interactive part, but a talking statue is one thing, a conversing statue would be that much cooler.

doctorremulac3, Jan 21 2014

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       This is either genius or ingenious.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 21 2014
  

       Or even igneous.   

       When nobody converses with it, does it waste any time simply looking stoned?
RayfordSteele, Jan 21 2014
  

       // igneous //   

       Metamorphic, shirley ?
8th of 7, Jan 21 2014
  

       Smells expensive. How many busts? aeiouy 10?   

       plus 10 mirrors, 10 lights, light adsorbing curtains and cubicles, controls, part time operator maintainer.   

       Maybe just a flat marble wall next to the elevator that talks / distracts folks waiting.
popbottle, Jan 21 2014
  

       honey, you look marlbelous.
theircompetitor, Jan 21 2014
  

       One rotating mirror should be all you need.
RayfordSteele, Jan 21 2014
  

       I thought of that. Flickkery and limited to what you could fit into the 360 degrees around the mirror.   

       This would have no gaps between frame views. One set of lights would go on exactly when another set of lights went off.   

       With a little extra effort, and by a little I mean a lot, you could have a 3d effect where you could actually look at it from different angles using a concave mirror.   

       I think.
doctorremulac3, Jan 21 2014
  

       Would the *O sound* sound like a Big O?
xandram, Jan 21 2014
  

       We have an automotive supply store in California called "Big O Tires". They opened in the early 1920s before "big O" took on another meaning. Although a good advertising agency might be able to use that to their advantage, it's one of those unfortunate coincidences like "Big Wiener" hot dogs or "Cut The Cheese" dairy products.
doctorremulac3, Jan 21 2014
  

       Smells of Haunted Mansion. I like that it would be doable with 40s technology.
bungston, Jan 21 2014
  

       Baphomet...
not_morrison_rm, Jan 21 2014
  

       Oooo, me likey.   

       The scarier the better. Lincoln for instance would be kind of boring. "Hey Abe, still got the hat I see."   

       "Yea, yea, kind of my trademark."   

       "Cool, cool. Ok, gonna go buy some cotton candy now. Thanks, good job freeing the slaves by the way."   

       "No prob."   

       You know, a hall full of these things a-la jars full of famous President's heads from Futurama might be interesting. Presidents would be boring though. I'd want to talk to someone more interesting, like Satan for instance. Get his side of the story. Maybe even have some fun with them. "Hey Satan, I just got back from talking to the James Polk statue. He called you a pussy!"
doctorremulac3, Jan 21 2014
  
      
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