In 1928 a machine was invented at Bell Labs to mimic the human voice. The hope was that the invention would better transmit speech underwater —say, across the Atlantic. Seventeen years later, Truman and Churchill would use the technology to discuss the terms of German surrender over a secure line. In between, the device would sing "Barnacle Bill" at a 1936 celebration at Harvard and capture the imagination of a young Ray Bradbury, who first encountered it at the 1939 New York World's Fair. In the late 60's the vocoder was discovered by record producers. The Moody Blues used it for their hit Night In White Satin". When the '80s and rap became the vogue, the vocoder would become the main machine of electro hip-hop. All in all, not a bad career for a machine.