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Texas Instruments Develops the First Speech Synthesis Chip, First Used Commercially in "Speak & Spell"

6/11/1977 to 6/1978
1980 version of Speak & Spell child computer
1980 version of Speak & Spell.

On June 11, 1977 Texas Instruments, Dallas, Texas, announced a speech synthesizer digital signal processor integrated circuit, or LPC Speech Chip. For the first time the human vocal tract was electronically duplicated on a single chip of silicon.

The TMS5100 was the first LPC speech chip. It used a custom 4-bit serial interface using TMS6100 or TMS6125 mask ROM ICs. It was used commercially on all non-super versions of the Speak & Spell. The Speak & Spell line of educational toys was a series of electronic hand-held child computers manufactured by Texas Instruments that consisted of a TMC0280 (TMS5100) linear predictive coding speech synthesizer, a keyboard, and a receptor slot to receive one of a collection of ROM game library modules (collectively covered under patent US 3934233). The first Speak & Spell was introduced at the summer Consumer Electronics Show in June 1978, making it one of the earliest handheld electronic devices with a visual display to use interchangeable game cartridges.

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