A fictional machine, similar to a lie detector, that is used to measure emotional responses. Useful in differentiating replicants from humans.
The fictional Voight-Kampff machine was designed to measure the emotional response of a subject. By measuring capillary dilation, respiration, heart rate and the so-called “blush response,” the machine assists blade runners in differentiating replicants from humans. The blade runner asks a series of questions designed to elicit an emotional response and then measures the subject’s reactions. Since replicants have difficulty mimicking complex human emotions, the test often confuses them; sometimes causing violent responses.
While testing recently hired Tyrell Corporation employees during the search for the escaped Nexus-6 replicants, blade runner Holden gave the Voight-Kampff test to Leon Kowalski. Leon was unable to process a response to the questions and responded by shooting Holden twice, blasting him through a wall.
Later on in the investigation, Rick Deckard, in a visit to the Tyrell Corporation headquarters, was asked by Eldon Tyrell to test the Voight-Kampff machine on his secretary, Rachel. After asking over 100 questions--compared to the normal 20 or 30 cross-referenced--Deckard eventually came to realize that Rachel was a replicant programmed with artificial memories.
The Voight-Kampff machine was featured in Philip K. Dick’s source novel; Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? The look for the movie prop was designed by futurist Syd Mead, who included lots of moving parts to give the technology a life of its own. The bellows unit was justified as measuring pheromones emitted by the subject.