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Texas Instruments Speech - Integrated Circuits

SpeaknSpell78.jpg (79273 Byte)Shortly after the invention of the synthesizer technology to reproduce human speech with tuned voices stored in ROM's (integrated circuits) this funny product appeared. The Speak & Spell project was started in the year 1976 and created with the TMC0280 the first one-chip LPC speech synthesizer. Later refinements to the Speak & Spell chips resulted in the TMS5100, 5110, 5200, and 5220 Voice Synthesis Processors (VSP) for use in commercial products needing synthetic speech voice output from digitally-stored words and phrases. Speech data was stored in in up to sixteen 128K ROM chips (TMC0350). Plug-in modules increased vocabulary and provided for versions in French, German, Spanish and British English. Texas Instruments continued the integration of the synthesizer technology and created dozens of VSP's and associated Voice Synthesis Memories (VSM's).

It's difficult to get information about the customized speech circuits manufactured by Texas Instruments. The following table gives an overview of the known circuits, a brief description and the products using them. 

First Voice Synthesis Processors (VSP)

Press the Play button and listen Speak & Spell tunes.
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Find here the original press release dated June 11, 1978:

First single-chip speech synthesizer

Monolithic PMOS speech synthesis IC developed by Texas Instruments

DALLAS, June 11, 1978

A new speech synthesis monolithic integrated circuit has been developed by Texas Instruments Incorporated. It marks the first time the human vocal tract has been electronically duplicated on a single chip of silicon. Measuring 44,000 square mils, the chip is fabricated using TI's low-cost metal gate P-channel MOS process, the same used for TI calculator MOS ICs.

The speech synthesis MOS/LSI integrated circuit along with two 128K dynamic ROMs each with the capacity to store over 100 seconds of speech, and a special version of the TMS1000 microcomputer, all TI developed, serve as the main electronics for the new talking learning aid, SPEAK & SPELL™, for seven year olds and up. The new TI consumer product was introduced at the Summer Consumer Electronics Shows in Chicago , June 11-14.

Speech encoding is achieved through pitch excited Linear Predictive Coding (LPC). As the name implies, LPC is based on a linear equation to formulate a mathematical model of the human vocal tract and an ability to predict a speech sample based on previous ones.

Linear Predictive Coding is a technique of analyzing and synthesizing human speech by determining from original speech a description of a time varying digital filter modeling the vocal tract. This filter is then excited by either periodic or random inputs. An on-chip 8-bit digital-to-analog (D/A) converter transforms digital information processed through the filter into synthetic speech.

Codes for twelve synthesis parameters (10 filter coefficients, pitch and energy) serve as inputs to the synthesizer chip. These codes are stored in a ROM and, once decoded by on-chip circuitry, represent the time varying description of the LPC synthesis model.

Inputs to the digital filter take two forms: (1) periodic and (2) random. The periodic inputs are used to reproduce voiced sounds which have a definite pitch such as vowel sounds or voiced fricatives such as Z , B or D . A random input models unvoiced sounds such as S , F , T and SH.

The speech synthesis chip has two separate logic blocks which generate the voiced and unvoiced excitation. Output of the digital filter drives a D to A converter which in turn drives a speaker.

Key to TI's high quality LPC speech synthesizer is an advanced design 10-stage lattice filter which has an integrated array multiplier, an adder coupled to the multiplier output and various delay circuits coupled to the adder output.

With this increased computational sequencing capability and a fast continuous data transfer rate, the multiplier can accept two inputs every five microseconds. Twenty multiply and accumulate operations are needed to generate each speech sample, and the circuit can generate up to 10,000 speech samples per second.

The chip is operated at an eight kilohertz rate for the Speak & Spell. This 10th order Linear Predictive Coding (LPC-10) speech synthesizer IC accurately reproduces human speech from stored or transmitted digital data.


Type Year Function Product Comments
TMS5100
(TMC0281)
1978 4-bit peripheral Speak & Spell, Math, Read, Language Tutor First VSP
(TI internal name ‘0280’)
TMS5100A
(TMC0281)
1980 4-bit peripheral Speak & Spell line Die shrink of TMS5100
TMS5110
(TMC0280/CD2801)
1980 4-bit peripheral Speak & Spell line New version of TMS5100, updated LPC table
TMS5110A
(TMC0280/CD2801)
1981 4-bit peripheral Speak & Spell line Die shrink of TMS5110
TMS5110A
(TMC0280/CD2802)
1981 4-bit peripheral Touch & Tell Different LPC table
TSP5110A
(TMC0281/CD2801A)
1985 4-bit peripheral Speak & Spell line  
TMS5100        
TMS5200
(TMS0285/CD2501E)
1981 8-bit FIFO    (TI internal name ‘0285’)
TMS5220
(CD2805E?)
1982 8-bit FIFO Speak & Learn Improved TMS5200, updated LPC table
TMS5220C 1983 8-bit FIFO   Enhanced TMS5220
TSP5220C 1985 8-bit FIFO   Identical with TMS5220C

First Voice Synthesis Memories (VSM)

These chips are manufactured in a metal gate P-channel MOS process and using dual-inline plastic cases. 

Type Year Function Product Comments
TMS6100NL
(TMC0350)
1978 128kBit Speak & Spell First VSM
TMS6125NL
(TMC0355)
1978 16kBit Spelling B

 

Type Year Function Calculator Comments
TMC0351 1978 128kBit  Speak & Spell (1978) First VSM
TMC0352 1978 128kBit  Speak & Spell (1978) Memory, 8 digits
TMC0350/CD2302 1978 128kBit Speak & Spell Module © 1978 Vowel Power 
TMC0350/CD2305 1978 128kBit Speak & Spell Module © 1979 Super Stumpers 4-6 
TMC0350/CD2307 1978 128kBit Speak & Spell Module © 1979 Super Stumpers 7-8
TMC0350/CD2308 1978 128kBit Speak & Spell Module © 1979 Basic Builders 
TMC0350/CD2309 1978 128kBit Speak & Spell Module © 1979 Mighty Verbs 
TMC0350/CD2310 1978 128kBit Speak & Spell Module © 1980 Homonym Heroes 
TMC0350/CD2311 1979 128kBit Language Tutor © 1979 Spoken English
TMC0350/CD2312 1979 128kBit Language Tutor © 1979 Spoken English
TMC0350/CD2313 1979 128kBit Language Tutor © 1979 Spoken English
TMC0350/CD2314 1979 128kBit Language Tutor © 1979 Spoken English
TMC0350/CD2327 1979 128kBit Language Tutor © 1979 Spoken French
TMC0350/CD2328 1979 128kBit Language Tutor © 1979 Spoken French
TMC0350/CD2329 1979 128kBit Language Tutor © 1979 Spoken French
TMC0350/CD2330 1979 128kBit Language Tutor © 1979 Spoken French
TMC0350/CD2331 1979 128kBit Language Tutor © 1979 Spoken German
TMC0350/CD2332 1979 128kBit Language Tutor © 1979 Spoken German
TMC0350/CD2333 1979 128kBit Language Tutor © 1979 Spoken German
TMC0350/CD2334 1979 128kBit Language Tutor © 1979 Spoken German
TMC0350/CD2345 1980 128kBit Buddy  
TMC0350/CD2346 1980 128kBit Buddy  
TMC0350/CD2347 1980 128kBit Speak & Spell Module © 1980 Vowel Ventures 
TMC0350/CD2348 1980 128kBit Speak & Spell Module © 1980 Noun Endings 
TMC0350/CD2349 1980 128kBit Speak & Spell Module © 1980 Magnificent Modifiers 
TMC0350/CD2350 1980 256kBit Speak & Spell (1980) Double VSM
TMC0350/CD2352 1980 256kBit La Dictée Magique Double VSM
TMC0350/CD2353 1981 256kBit La Dictée Magique © 1981 Les Mots de Base 
TMC0350/CD2355 1981 256kBit Touch & Tell Module © 1981 Animal Friends
TMC0350/CD2360 1982 256kBit Speak & Spell Module © 1982 ET Fantasy Module 
TMC0350/CD2361 1982 256kBit Touch & Tell Module © 1982 World of Transportation
TMC0350/CD2362 1982 256kBit Touch & Tell Module © 1982 Little Creatures
TMC0350/CD2363 1982 256kBit Touch & Tell Module © 1982 E.T.
TMC0350/CD2381 1986 256kBit Speak & Math Double VSM
TMC0350/CD2392 1980 256kBit Speak & Math Double VSM
TMC0350/CD2393 1980 256kBit Speak & Math Double VSM
TMC0350/CD2394 1980 256kBit Speak & Read Double VSM
TMC0350/CD2395 1980 256kBit Speak & Read Double VSM
TMC0350/CD2396 1980 256kBit Speak & Read Module © 1980 Sea Sights
TMC0350/CD2397 1980 256kBit Speak & Read Module © 1980 Who´s Who At The Zoo
TMC0350/CD3509 1980 256kBit Language Teacher © 1980 German for Travel 
TMC0350/CD3534 1981 256kBit Speak & Read Module © 1981 A Dog on a Log
TMC0350/CD3535 1981 256kBit Speak & Read Module © 1981 The Seal That Could Fly
TMC0350/CD3536 1981 256kBit Speak & Read Module © 1981 A Ghost in the House
TMC0350/CD3538 1981 256kBit Speak & Read Module © 1981 On The Track
TMC0350/CD3539 1981 256kBit Speak & Read Module © 1981 The Third Circle
TMC0350/CD3540 1981 256kBit Speak & Read Module © 1981 The Millionth Knight
         
TMC0355/CD2601 1978 16kBit Mr. Challenger Small housing
TMC0355/CD2602 1978 16kBit Spelling B Small housing
TMC0355/CD2603 1978 16kBit LETTERlogic (France) Small housing
TMC0355/CD2604 1978 16kBit LETTERlogic Small housing
TMC0355/CD2605 1980 16kBit Mr. Challenger (Espaniol) Small housing
TMC0355/CD2607 1979 16kBit Spelling ABC Small housing
CD2610 1981 ??? Touch & Tell Small housing
CD2611 1981   Touch & Tell Module © 1981 Alphabet Fun
CD2612 1981   Touch & Tell Module © 1981 Number Fun
CD2613 1981   Touch & Tell Module © 1981 All About Me
CD2614 1981   Speak & Math Found in 1986 model
         
TMC0350/CD62047 1981 ??? La Dictée Magique © 198? Les Animaux Familiers
TMC0350/CD62048 1981 ??? La Dictée Magique © 198? Les Magasins De La Rue 
TMC0350/CD62170 1981 ??? Touch & Tell (UK)  
TMC0350/CD62171 1981 ??? Le Livre Magique  
TMC0350/CD62172 1981 ??? Tipp & Sprich  
TMC0350/CD62173 1981 ??? Les Maths Magiques  
TMC0350/CD62175 1981 ??? Speak & Spell (UK)  
TMC0350/CD62176 1982 ??? Libro Parlante  
TMC0350/CD62177 1982 ??? La Dictée Magique © 198? Les Mots Difficiles 
TMC0350/CD62178 1982 ??? La Dictée Magique © 198? Les Extra-Terrestres 
TMC0350/CD62190 1982 ??? Grillo Parlante  
TMC0350/CD62313 198x ??? Grillo Parlante Module SuperModulo

Later Speech Synthesizers (TSP50C0x/1x)

The TSP50C0x/1x family of speech synthesizers offer cost-effective solutions for high-volume applications. Each incorporates a built in microprocessor that allows music as well as speech capability. Texas Instruments offers five sizes of internal ROM for up to three minutes of speech. In addition, the devices can be interfaced to external speech memory.
The TSP50C0x/1x uses a revolutionary architecture to combine an 8-bit microprocessor, a speech synthesizer, ROM, RAM, and I/O in a low-cost single-chip system. The architecture uses the same ALU (Arithmetic Logic Unit) for the synthesizer and the microprocessor, thus reducing chip area and cost and enabling the microprocessor to do a multiply operation in 1.6us. Linear Predictive Coding (LPC) is used to synthesize high-quality speech at a low data rate.
The TSP50C0x/1x implements an LPC-12 speech synthesis algorithm using a 12-pole lattice filter. The internal microprocessor fetches speech data from the internal or external ROM (TSP60C18 or TSP60C81), decodes the speech data, and sends the decoded data to the synthesizer. The microprocessor also interpolates (smooths) the speech data between fetches. The output of the synthesizer can be used to drive transistor or integrated-circuit amplifiers. Some digital low-pass filtering is provided inside the TSP50C0x/1x. 
The TSP50C0x/1x  is manufactured in a 4-V to 6-V CMOS Technology for Low Power Dissipation
and using 16 pin dual-inline (DIP) or 20-pin surface mountable (SO) plastic cases.

Type Year Function Product Comments
TSP50C04    4k ROM,
576 bits RAM
   
TSP50C06    6k ROM,
576 bits RAM
   
TSP50C10    8k ROM,
1088 bits RAM
  3 D/A channels
TSP50C10/CSM10047   16k ROM,
1088 bits RAM
Super Speak & Math   
TSP50C10/CSM10087   16k ROM,
1088 bits RAM
Super Speak & Spell Only models manufac. later 1991
TSP50C11   16k ROM,
1088 bits RAM
  3 D/A channels
TSP50C11/CSM11012   16k ROM,
1088 bits RAM
Peek-A-Boo Zoo  
TSP50C11/CSM11039   16k ROM,
1088 bits RAM
Passport Game  
TSP50C11/CSM11122 1992 16k ROM,
1088 bits RAM
Talking Mouse Computer  
TSP50C11/CSM11124   16k ROM,
1088 bits RAM
Magic Clown  
TSP50C11/CSM11125   16k ROM,
1088 bits RAM
Storytime Sorter  
TSP50C11/CSM11128   16k ROM,
1088 bits RAM
Mouse Computer  
TSP50C11/CSM11129   16k ROM,
1088 bits RAM
L'Ordinateur Magique   
TSP50C11/CSM11157 1993 16k ROM,
1088 bits RAM
My Own Playphone  
TSP50C11/CSM11159   16k ROM,
1088 bits RAM
Magic Melody  
TSP50C11/CSM11163   16k ROM,
1088 bits RAM
Teddy Touch & Tell  
TSP50P11   16k OTP-ROM,
1088 bits RAM
  User programmable
TSP50C12   16k ROM,
1088 bits RAM
  68 pins, LCD driver
TSP50C13    8k ROM,
1088 bits RAM
    
TSP50C14   16k ROM,
576 bits RAM
   
TSP50C14   16k ROM,
576 bits RAM
Discovery Depot  
TSP50C14   16k ROM,
576 bits RAM
Touch & Talkies  
TSP50C14/CSM14042   16k ROM,
576 bits RAM
Touch & Talkies Crazy Clubhouse
TSP50C14/CSM14053   16k ROM,
576 bits RAM
Touch & Talkies Wordy Wagon
TSP50C19   32k ROM,
576 bits RAM
   
TSP53C32A   16k ROM,
1088 bits RAM
  TSP50C10 with integrated word list
(Female voice, 48 words)
TSP53C33A   16k ROM,
1088 bits RAM
  TSP50C10 with integrated word list
(Male voice, 48 words)

Later Speech Synthesizers (MSP50C3x)

The MSP50x3x family uses a revolutionary architecture to combine an 8-bit microprocessor, two speech synthesizers, ROM, RAM, and I/O in a low-cost single-chip system. The architecture uses the same arithmetic logic unit (ALU) for the two synthesizers and the microprocessor, thus reducing chip area and cost and enabling the microprocessor to do a multiply operation in 0.8us. The MSP50x3x family features two semi-independent channels of linear predictive coding (LPC), which synthesize high-quality speech at a low data rate. Pulse code modulation (PCM) can produce music or sound effects. LPC and PCM can be added together to produce a composite result.
The MSP50x3x implements an LPC-12 speech-synthesis algorithm using two 12-pole lattice filters. The internal microprocessor fetches speech data from the internal ROM, decodes the speech data, and sends the decoded data to the synthesizer. The microprocessor also interpolates (smoothes) the speech data between fetches. The microprocessor can calculate a PCM waveform, which can be added to the output of one of the two lattice filters to create composite PCM + LPC waveforms.

The MSP50x3x is manufactured in a 3.3V to 6.5V CMOS technology for low power dissipation and using 16 pin dual-inline (DIP) or 20-pin surface mountable (SO) plastic cases.

Type Year Function Product Comments
MSP50C30    4k ROM, 
8320 bits RAM
100 pins (package), 68 pins (die) 
CSM30003    4k ROM, 
8320 bits RAM
Catalogue part 100 pins (package), 68 pins (die) 
MSP50C32   16k ROM,
2176 bits RAM
  16 pins (package), 16 pins (die) 
MSP50C33   32k ROM,
2176 bits RAM
  16 pins (package), 16 pins (die) 
MSP50C34   64k ROM,
2176 bits RAM
  16 pins (package), 30 pins (die) 
MSP50P34   64k OTP-ROM,
2176 bits RAM
  User programmable
16 pins (package), 30 pins (die) 
MSP50C37   16k ROM,
2176 bits RAM
   28 pins (package), 28 pins (die) 
MSP50P37   16k OTP-ROM,
2176 bits RAM
  User programmable
28 pins (package), 28 pins (die) 
MSP53C39       Synthesizer for music (FM) and
speech (LPC, MELP, CELP) 

Later Speech Synthesizers (TSP50C50/TSP50C4x)

TSP50C50: CMOS manufacturing process, uses LPC-12 instead of LPC-10, uses TMS60C20 256kBit serial ROM instead of TMS6100. Uses D6 encoding. Has built in low-pass analog filter. Manufactured into the early '90s. 

TSP50C40: TSP50C50 plus a simple 8-bit microcontroller with on-chip mask ROM.

Type Year Function Product Comments
TMP50C40/CM54128 1986   Little Maestro  
TMP50C40/CD54129 1986   Speak & Music   
TMP50C40/CD54148 1986   La Musique Magique  
TMP50C40/CD54149 1986   Speak & Music (UK)  
TMP50C40/CD54169 1986   Fonillo Suonaparla  
TMP50C40/CD54170 1986   Mathe-Fix  
TSP50C41/CSM41014 1988    Voyager   
TSP50C42/CSM42005      Touch & Discover    
TSP50C42/CSM42008 1988    Super Speak & Read   
TSP50C42/CSM42014 1989   Super Libro Parlante   
TSP50C42/CSM42020     Super Speak & Spell Only during the years 1989-1990
TSP50C42/CSM42023 1989   Le Super Livre Magique Like Touch & Discover
TSP50C42/CSM42024 1990   Speak & Spell Professor Chinese Version
TSP50C42/CSM42025 1990   Lesefreund, Chatter-Book   
TSP50C42/CSM42027 1990   La Super Dictée Magique    
TSP50C42/CSM42030 1990   Super Speak & Spell (91)
La Super Dictée Magique 
  
TSP50C42/CSM42031     El Loro Parlachín, El Loro Profesor   
TSP50C42/CSM42042 1992   Touch & Discover School Edition   
TSP50C42/CSM42047     Magic Reading Desk   
TSP50C43/CSM57303     Music Star   
TSP50C44/CSM44012     Computer Fun  
TSP50C44/CSM44017     Computer Fun English edition
TSP50C44/CSM44024     Computer Fun German edition

Later Speech Synthesizers (MSP50C6XX)

The MSP50C6XX products are TI's most recent generation of speech-synthesis ICs. They include a 12.32 MIPS processor (16-bit Harvard type micro-controller with DSP capability) for high-quality low data-rate speech compression and MIDI music synthesis, with plenty of power left over for other processor and control functions. Members of the MSP50C6XX line can store as much as 37 minutes of speech on chip and include as much as 64 I/O pins for external interfacing. Integrating this broad range of features onto a single chip enables developers to create products with high quality, long duration speech at very competitive price points.
The MSP50C6XX family features five different chips introduced in 1999 and 2000, whose claim to fame is providing the voice box behind Furby, the chatty toy from Tiger Electronics Ltd., a division of Hasbro Inc. of Vernon, Ill. 

June 11, 2001: Sensory Inc. signed an agreement for the rights to continue production of Texas Instruments Inc.’s MSP50C6xx speech synthesis integrated circuit (IC) product line. The rebranded Sensory SC-6X line was discontinued in October 2007.

Type Year Function Product Comments
MSP50C601 1999/2000 128k*17 ROM
 640*17 RAM 
   17-bit words ROM, 17-bits words RAM
MSP50C604 1999/2000  64k*17 ROM
 640*17 RAM 
     
MSP50C605 1999/2000 224k*17 ROM
 640*17 RAM 
   
MSP50C614 1999/2000  32k*17 ROM
 640*17 RAM 
   
MSP50P614 1999/2000  32k*17 EPROM
 640*17 RAM 
  EPROM based MSP50C614 for evaluation

Later Speech Synthesizers Memories (TSP60Cxx)

These chips are manufactured in CMOS Technology for Low Power Dissipation and using dual-inline plastic cases. They are intended for use with the TSP50C0x/1x family of speech synthesizers.

Type Year Function Product Comments
TSP60C18   256kBit   DIP16
TSP60C81   1024kBit   DIP28 
TSP60C18/CMM18001     Super Speak & Math   
TSP60C18/CMM18004     Super Speak & Spell  
TSP60C19/CMM19002     Touch & Discover © 1987 
TSP60C19/CMM19005     Voyager © 1988
TSP60C19/CMM19006     Computer Fun  
TSP60C19/CMM19010     Chatter-Book  
TSP60C19/CMM19016     Super Libro Parlante © 1989
TSP60C19/CMM19018     Lesefreund  
TSP60C19/CMM19025     Le Super Livre Magique © 1989
TSP60C19/CMM19027     Chatter-Book  
TSP60C19/CMM19028     Lesefreund Module  
TSP60C19/CMM19031     La Super Dictée Magique  © 1990
TSP60C19/CMM19035     Grillo Parlante Piu  © 1990
TSP60C19/CMM19036     El Loro Parlanchín © 1990
TSP60C19/CMM19037     Grillo Parlante Piu  © 1990 Modulo di Espansione No1
TSP60C19/CMM19040     Computer Fun (UK)  © 1990
TSP60C19/CMM19041     El Loro Parlanchín © 1990 Modulo de Extension No1
TSP60C19/CMM19044     La Super Dictée Magique  © 1991 Module d' extension No2
TSP60C19/CMM19048     Super Speak & Spell (91)  
TSP60C19/CMM19049     La Super Dictée Magique  © 1991 Anglais 1
TSP60C19/CMM19054     El Loro Profesor  
TSP60C21/CMM21002     Touch & Discover © 1987
TSP60C21/CMM21003     Touch & Discover Module © 1987 New Discoveries
TSP60C21/CMM21004     Touch & Discover Module © 1987 Advanced Discoveries
TSP60C21/CMM21008     Super Speak & Read Module  
TSP60C21/CMM21011     Voyager Module © 1988 Journey into Space 
TSP60C21/CMM21013     Voyager Module © 1988 Journey to Birds & Reptiles
TSP60C21/CMM21014     Voyager Module © 1989 Journey across The United States
TSP60C21/CMM21016     Voyager Module © 1988 Journey to The Prehistoric World 
TSP60C21/CMM21018     Voyager Module © 1988 Journey to Exotic Animals
TSP60C21/CMM21026     La Lecture Magique © 1989 Module d' extension No1
TSP60C21/CMM21028     Voyager Module © 1989 Journey to U.S. Presidents
TSP60C21/CMM21029     Voyager Module © 1989 Journey to Language Arts
TSP60C21/CMM21030     Voyager Module © 1989 Journey to Human Anatomy
TSP60C80/CMM80002     Super Speak & Read
Magic Reading Desk
© 1988
TSP60C80/CMM80004     Speak & Spell Professor © 1991 CHINESE MODULE II
TSP60C80/CMM80008     Touch & Discover School Edition © 1992 ENGLISH MODULE
TSP60C81/CMM81006     Passport Game  

Find here parts of the original press release dated June 11, 2001:

TI will exit dedicated speech-synthesis chips, transfer products to Sensory

DALLAS, June 11, 2001

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Texas Instruments Inc. will exit the dedicated speech-synthesis chip market at the end of this year when it transfers production of its MSP50C6XX family of speech synthesis ICs to Sensory Inc. here.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but a Sensory spokesman said the Santa Clara company will have the right to produce TI's latest generation of speech chips. Dallas-based TI retains ownership of its patents, the Sensory spokesman said. 

Sensory will begin supporting new customers immediately, and TI will continue to accept orders for the MSP50C6xx family until the end of 2001, under an agreement announced by the two companies this week. 

A Sensory spokesman said TI's high-quality, low-data-rate speech synthesis chips will be complementary to the company's own speech recognition chips used in toys, games, robots, home automation systems and products for the disabled. He said the company is especially interested in the fact that "TI's low-data-rate speech compression means it takes a smaller amount of memory to do high-quality speech synthesis."

The MSP50C6XX family features five different chips introduced in 1999 and 2000, whose claim to fame is providing the voice box behind Furby, the chatty toy from Tiger Electronics Ltd., a division of Hasbro Inc. of Vernon, Ill. 

The chip family includes a 12.32 MIPS processor for high-quality, low-data-rate speech compression and Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) music synthesis, with power left over for other processor and control functions. Members of the MSP50C6XX line can store up to 37 minutes of speech and include as much as 64 I/O pins for external interfacing. 

While the newer chips move to Sensory, TI's older speech synthesis chips will be discontinued, according to Craig Dalley, product manager of TI's Analog and Mixed Signal Group. 

The exit from the speech IC business will not have a material impact on earnings, because it represented a relatively small percentage of the company's revenue, said a TI spokeswoman. 

However, TI's departure from the business may have an impact on the speech synthesis market. The company was the first to commercialize speech synthesis products, and its achievements are chronicled on the Smithsonian Speech Synthesis History Project Web site. 

TI entered the market in the mid '70s, when it provided both a speech synthesizer chip and the learning toy known as the Speak & Spell, which was developed and sold by TI's consumer products division. 

At the time, Gene A. Frantz, TI senior fellow and business development manager for the DSP group, was a program manager for the Speak & Spell and led the development team for TI's early speech products. 

The company developed voice synthesizer processors used in a home computer add-on module for programmers to add speech to programs they would write for themselves. Speech synthesis was also employed in The Magic Wand Speaking Reader, which employed bar codes and a small bar code reader to speak passages of the book. The Magic Wand Speaking Reader was introduced before TI discontinued its consumer products division in 1983. 

In later years, the company provided speech chips to other customers for toys, educational products, language translation products, security systems and home monitoring devices. 

 

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© Joerg Woerner, Nov. 12, 2001. No reprints without written permission.