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Texas Instruments Super Speak & Spell

Date of introduction:  1989 Display technology:  LCD
New price:  $38.25 (1992)
 Libraries: $19.95
Display size:  2*8 alphanumeric
Size:  10.7" x 8.0" x  2.1" 
 271 x 203 x 53 mm3
   
Weight:  18.9 ounces, 535 grams Serial No:  
Batteries:  4*AA cells Date of manufacture:  wk 43 year 1989
AC-Adapter:   Origin of manufacture:  USA
Precision:   Integrated circuits:  TSP50C42 (CSM42019)
 TSP60C18 (CMM18004)
   --- OR ---
 TSP50C10 (CSM10087)
 HD44780
Memories:      
Program steps:   Courtesy of:  Joerg Woerner
    Download manual:   (US: 8.4M Bytes)

With the Super Speak & line Texas Instruments introduced educational toys similar to the well known kids-computers with there small LCD-screens and ASCII-keyboards. From the technical aspect this Super Speak & Spell uses a standard voice synthesizer chip (TSP50C42) with an external Speech-ROM (TSP60C18) and some external components. Starting in 1991 the Super Speak & Spell used the TSP50C10 chip. A similar product was sold for math education, view the Super Speak & Math.

The Super Speak & Spell is the successor of the original Speak & Spell. Two years later with the Super Speak & Spell (91) a mixture of the original design and the modern electronics was born while customers in China enjoyed already in 1990 the "Professor".

SuperSpeaknSpell_PCB.jpg (217671 Byte)Dismantling this Super Speak & Spell manufactured in October 1989 by Texas Instruments in the United States reveals a clean design centered around just three Integrated Circuits:

TSP50C42/CSM42019: TSP50C50 VSP (Voice Synthesis Processor) with 8-bit microcontroller and 8k Bytes Mask ROM for both program and voice and 128 Bytes + 16 Nibbles RAM
TSP60C18/CMM18004: VSM (Voice Synthesis Memory) with 256k Bits
Hitachi HD44780: LCD Controller for monochrome dot matrix liquid crystal display with 8-bit Interface

Later designs of the Super Speak & Spell replaced the TSP50C42/TSP60C18 combination with a TSP50C10 and reduced the chip count to two: 

TSP50C10/CSM10087: TSP50C50 VSP (Voice Synthesis Processor) with 8-bit microcontroller and 16k Bytes Mask ROM for both program and voice and 128 Bytes + 16 Nibbles RAM
Hitachi HD44780: LCD Controller for monochrome dot matrix liquid crystal display with 8-bit Interface

Very similar technology can be found in the Computer Fun, Mouse Computer and the Touch & Discover.

Super Speak & Spell will do:

Spell It - Helps you learn basic spelling skills, just as you do in school
Drop It - Helps you see how new words are made by adding prefixes 
   and suffixes.
Memory - Helps with letter recognition and visual memory skills
Mystery - Helps you understand letter patterns in words, and helps 
   develop visual memory
Mix Up - Presents word patterns and the relationships between letter 
   sounds and spelling
Same As - Gives you practice with homophones 
   (words that sound alike, but are spelled differently)
A.C.E. - (Abbreviations, Contractions, Endings) - Helps you learn how 
   to make abbreviations and contractions and how to add endings to words
Race - Helps you with fast recall, accurate spelling, and touch-typing skills

 

The toy is intended for players ages 6 to 12.


Four different Super Speak & Spell Cartridge Libraries are known:

Name Grade Words Description Module Manual
Words, Words, Words   150 Expands spell vocabulary by 150 hard to spell words. SSS_Module_WordsWordsWords.jpg (36401 Byte)
(US: 1.2M Bytes)
Words Around Us    150 Increases vocabulary by 150 specialized words. Topics include sports, geography and food words. SSS_Module_WordsAroundUs.jpg (34625 Byte)
(US: 1.2M Bytes)
Sounds of Spelling       SSS_Module_SoundsOfSpelling.jpg (39334 Byte)  
Spell Challenge          

The Super Speak & Spell is featured in the Texas Instruments Incorporated leaflet Follow the Learning Path dated 1991.

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If you have additions to the above article please email: joerg@datamath.org.

Joerg Woerner, December 5, 2001. No reprints without written permission.