Speaking machines!
January 4, 2004 10:05 AM   Subscribe

A brief history of speech synthesis : an interesting read, with photos and sound samples!
posted by starscream (5 comments total)
Excellent post -- especially the information about pre-computer speech synthesis. I'm chagrined to realize that at first glance I thought such a thing would be impossible, if not extremely limited ... but I read on and realized that I may have been using the hammer of software for too long...
posted by weston at 10:55 AM on January 4, 2004

Neat, thank you!

No history of speech synthesis is complete without a reference to S.A.M., Software Automated Mouth, one of the very first software speech synthesis systems for microcomputers. First introduced on the Apple II, and shortly thereafter for the C64 which had a powerful audio system but no speech capabilities.

Hammer of software indeed -- it never even occurred to me that someone would try mechanical speech synthesis!
posted by majick at 12:34 PM on January 4, 2004

I love those Voder samples. "Good eeevning, rradio awdience".
posted by wanderingmind at 5:51 PM on January 4, 2004

I had no idea such a thing was possible without a computer either. The first computer I ever used with speech synthesis was a Mac Quadra, with plaintalk, developed in the good old days when Apple actually had a lot of money to throw around at impractical crap. It was an effort to make a computer that would be able to interact with the user entirely through speech and voice commands - the computer would read dialog boxes, and give you commands. The voice recognition (speakable items) ALMOST worked - but it never really was practical, and it hogged resources. The speech synthesis was fairly poor at some words (particularly french loanwords), although it was usable.
posted by Veritron at 7:43 PM on January 4, 2004

Other interesting site, dealing mostly with Homer Dudley' s voder and vocoder umm.... machines. It includes a good many samples although some of them are in Sun audio format.
posted by adamt at 8:38 PM on January 4, 2004

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