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African American Film Materials
The Speak & Spell introduced the first single chip Digital signal processor for generating speech using linear predictive coding (LPC). It was the first of a three-part talking educational toy series that also included Speak & Read and Speak & Math. It started with the Texas Instruments linear predictive coding (LPC) Speech Chip TMS5100 (internally coded TMC0280), which is the earliest digital signal processing chip in the industry. Speak & Spell helped teach millions of children how to spell. It make its way to Hollywood, to the covers of Business Week and finally to the Smithsonian Institution Museum.
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See ,the Smithsonian Speech Synthesis History Project, which includesaudio of a variety of synthesizers, the Klatt paper, and personalrecollections. See especially the chronology of Votrax's speechproducts.
Archives of Women of the Southwest
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In microchip design, as in life, small things sometimes add up to big things. Dream up a clever microcircuit, get it sculpted in a sliver of silicon, and your little creation may unleash a technological revolution. It happened with the Intel 8088 microprocessor. And the Mostek MK4096 4-kilobit DRAM. And the Texas Instruments TMS32010 digital signal processor.
Among the many great chips that have emerged from fabs during the half-century reign of the integrated circuit, a small group stands out. Their designs proved so cutting-edge, so out of the box, so ahead of their time, that we are left groping for more technology clichés to describe them. Suffice it to say that they gave us the technology that made our brief, otherwise tedious existence in this universe worth living.
Dallas Aerial Photographs, 1945 USDA Survey
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Formant: A peak in the spectrum of speechcorresponding to a resonance in the vocal tract. A formantsynthesizer uses bandpass filters, typically, to create theseresonances. Depending on the type of speech to be synthesized(e.g., female, male), four or usually five or more formants arenecessary for reasonable speech.
Phoneme: An abstract sound unit, for example a soundlike "eh". The problem is that the actual soundassociated with a phoneme depends on its context--the "eh"sound is influenced by what sounds precede and follow it, forexample. The SSI-263 has some 60 phonemes it uses to synthesizeEnglish speech.
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Edward C. Fritz Papers, 1950s-2008
Currently available is a line of voice recording chips from ISD(now Winbond). These are even available at Radio Shack andDigikey. However, they are waveform recording devices, so notcapable of unlimited speech.
Europe, Asia, and Australia: Photographs, Manuscripts, and Imprints
(2/22/04) A new pre-programmed PIC that does single chipspeech synthesis and sound effects--the SpeakJet. Apparently released within the past two weeks, it accepts serial datein (phonemes) and output a PWM signal that with minimal (2-pole)filtering can be fed to an amplifier and then speaker. Internaloscillator. Seems to run about $25. Developed apparentlyby Magnevation ()and Scott Savage () overthe past 5 years. I have only heard a few demos. Widelyavailable through robotic supply sources. The interface andcommand set look very well thought out. This might turn out tobe a very nice chip for applications that would normally want to usethe SC-01A. According to an email I got from Scott, theSpeakJet does do transitioning between phonemes. If anyone hasadditional details how this works, what PIC it is (someone guessed anPIC18F1320), etc., let me know. (This conjecture makessense--the 18F1320 has an 8x8 mulitplier, 8k bytes of program space,PWM, and runs about 10 MIPs. This is more than enough to do astripped-down digital formant synthesizer. A full bore,unoptimized KLATTalk-ish formant synthesizer core will run on a 10MIPs 16-bit wide chip with MAC.)
Frank J. Davis World War II Photographs
Gottlieb arcade game hardware (Gottlieb speech/sound assembly A3), used in games such as Qbert, Qbert Qubes, Krull, and Curveball. (Thanks to Elmar Trojer) For more information, see
George W. Cook Dallas/Texas Image Collection
(5/14/03) Tom Arnold points out that the datasheet is finallyavailable for the WTS701, along with a live demo (you type in text,get back audio output) From the description, it sounds like itstores speech (using the ISD technology) on chip, concatenating toform the output. (See their FAQ on the page above.) Surface mount package. SPI interface.
G. William Jones Film and Video Collection
Update (7/11/12): Eric Ostendorff pointed out the RoboVoiceSP0-512 Text to Speech IC..About $25 ($15.99 on special as of 7/11/12). A pre-programmeddsPIC33FJ64GP802 PIC microcontroller (Microchip), it claims an800-rule TTS algorithm, built-in DAC, serial communication. Eric haswritten an in the November 2012 Servo magazine. Here's alink to a
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