IBM Wants Patent On Conference Call Laugh Tracks

from the is-this-funny-to-you? dept

theodp writes "The first known use of a recorded laugh track is said to be in 1950, when the producers of the Hank McCune Show added canned laughter after the show's taping. Almost 60 years later, IBM says it deserves a patent for 'inventing' adding canned laughter to conference calls. 'A pre-selected stored sound (e.g., an interjection such as a laugh) may be generated if there is a period of silence on one of the telephone lines that exceeds a threshold,' explains Big Blue in its just-published patent application for Enlivening Conference Calls to Make Conference Calls More Interesting for Participants. Eureka!"
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Filed Under: conference calls, laugh track, patents
Companies: ibm

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  1. icon
    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), 17 Sep 2009 @ 8:56am


    From what I'm reading, it's a patent for a device that listens for no sound on the phone line, counts down a specific amount of time, and plays a pre-recorded sound. The laugh track isn't important here, it's only used as an example.

    This sounds like an automated version of a device I saw back in the early nineties. The device would plug into the phone, back when all phones were wired, and you could press a button and it would play a pre-recorded sound threw the phone line.

    So, they are taking three devices and putting them together.

    1) A device that starts a countdown on a non signal and will activate something when the countdown finishes unless a signal appears again. This is done in programing and electronics all the time. (a nand gate?)

    2) A device that will play sounds threw the phone line. See the device I mentioned earlier or something like an on hold track.

    3) A decibel meter. (If I have to explain that, I probably have to further explain the other two)

    I can see that the only reason this hasn't been patented before, or at least no prior art, is because it's a stupid idea and would never be implemented in a professional environment.

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