Originating in Philip K. Dick's novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the Voight-Kampff machine or device (spelled Voigt-Kampff in the book) also appeared in the book's screen adaptation, the 1982 science fiction film Blade Runner.
The Voight-Kampff is a polygraph-like machine used by the LAPD's Blade Runners to assist in the testing of an individual to see whether they are a replicant or not. It measures bodily functions such as respiration, heart rate, blushing and eye movement in response to emotionally provocative questions.
Use of the Machine
In the film two replicants take the test: Leon (played by Brion James) and Rachael (played by Sean Young). In Blade Runner, Deckard tells Tyrell that it usually takes 20 to 30 cross-referenced questions to distinguish a replicant. With Rachael it takes more than a hundred. Tyrell said Rachael was "special".
Description from the original 1982 Blade Runner presskit:
- A very advanced form of lie detector that measures contractions of the iris muscle and the presence of invisible airborne particles emitted from the body. The bellows were designed for the latter function and give the machine the menacing air of a sinister insect. The VK is used primarily by Blade Runners to determine if a suspect is truly human by measuring the degree of his empathic response through carefully worded questions and statements.
The Voight-Kampff machine is perhaps analogous to (and may have been partly inspired by) Alan Turing's work which propounded an artificial intelligence test — to see if a computer could convince a human (by answering set questions, etc.) that it was another human. The phrase Turing test was popularised by science fiction but was not used until years after Turing's death.
- Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner by Paul Sammon (Orion, 2004) ISBN 0752807404
- Retrofitting Blade Runner: Issues in Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner" and Philip K. Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" by Judith Kerman (Popular Press, 2003) ISBN 0879725109
- Archer Season 7: Ep. 7 Double Indecency
- Grand Strategy Video Game, "Stellaris" by Paradox Interactive
- Voight-Kampff entry - Official Blade Runner online magazine
- Excerpt describing the machine from "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?"
|The Blade Runner series|
|Films||Blade Runner | Soldier | Blade Runner 2049|
|Short films||2036: Nexus Dawn | 2048: Nowhere To Run | Blade Runner Black Out 2022|
|Characters||Rick Deckard | Eldon Tyrell | Gaff | Rachael | Roy Batty | Leon Kowalski | Pris | Zhora | J.F. Sebastian|
|Locations||Tyrell Corporation | Bradbury Building | Tannhauser Gate|
|Cast||Harrison Ford | Rutger Hauer | Sean Young | Edward James Olmos | Daryl Hannah|
|Crew||Ridley Scott | Hampton Fancher | Michael Deeley | David Peoples|
|Novels||Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? | The Edge of Human | Replicant Night | Eye and Talon|
|Games and comics||Blade Runner (1985 video game) | Blade Runner (1997 video game) | Blade Runner 9732 | A Marvel Comics Super Special: Blade Runner | Blade Bummer|
|Making ofs||Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner | On the Edge of Blade Runner | Future Shocks|
|Other topics||Philip K. Dick | Themes | Soundtrack | Vangelis | Voight-Kampff machine | Spinner | Replicants|