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Disney’s new chatty toys patent

As Disney’s newly awarded US patent 10,981,073 (April 20th, 2021) points out :

“Toys and characters often have prerecorded phrases or audio effects that can be played to increase the immersion for users who interact with the character. For example, some toys have pull strings, push buttons, and the like that triggers one or more prerecorded sound effects.”

The new aspect of the invention is that the toys no longer just ‘talk’ to their human companions – they can now chat amongst themselves too. And tell each other jokes.

See : Localized and standalone semi-randomized character conversations

Note: The patent document has some nice examples of somewhat-longer-than-normal sentences – which, for reasons not yet entirely clear, are much beloved of patent document compilers. For example :

“A method comprising: determining to output audio based on receiving, by a first device, a first input signal; responsive to determining to output audio, selecting, by the first device, a first communication pattern from a plurality of communication patterns, wherein each respective communication pattern of the plurality of communication patterns specifies a respective plurality of audio profiles, and wherein the first communication pattern, when selected, has no association with any particular audio file and is selected without reference to any particular audio file and with at least a degree of randomness; identifying, by the first device, a first audio profile specified in the first communication pattern, wherein the first audio profile specifies a first length of time and is not associated with any particular audio file; subsequent to selecting the first communication pattern, selecting, by the first device, a first audio file from a plurality of audio files, wherein the first audio file, when selected, has no association with the first communication pattern and is selected without reference to the first communication pattern and with at least a degree of randomness; extracting, by the first device, with at least a degree of randomness, from the first audio file, a first portion of audio corresponding to the specified first length of time; modifying, by the first device, the first portion of audio based on the first audio profile; outputting, by the first device, the first modified portion of audio; determining to output additional audio based on receiving, by the first device, a second input signal; and outputting, by the first device, a second modified portion of audio generated based at least in part on a second audio profile in the first communication pattern.”

Research research by Martin Gardiner

Improbable Research