Rube Telephone

A Rube Goldberg machine that tangibly processes, translates, and often distorts conversation between two people.

How it works

(from left to right)

Human speech input

The user on the left speaks into the phone and the captured speech is converted to plain text.

Morse code

The text is then translated to Morse code.

Language translation

The input text is translated to a random language and then back to English.

Optical character recognition

The resulting translated text is printed on receipt paper and captured by a webcam, which performs optical character recognition to extract text from the image.

Computer speech output

The extracted text is read by a computer to the user on the right.


Made in collaboration with Aaron Montoya