Speak and Spell educational toy, late 1970s.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
This brightly coloured toy, aimed at children between 6 and 14 years old, was first manufactured by Texas Instruments in 1978. It is microprocesor-controlled and uses speech technology to help youngsters learn to spell, with the asistance of several game programs to make learning fun. Human speech is reproduced with tuned voices stored in the ROM (integrated circuit). The spoken word is generated by a built-in loudspeaker and the user has to type in the correct spelling of the word using the keypad. An alphanumeric display is used as feedback when typing words. The same technology was used in two other products produced by Texas: Speak & Read (1980) and Speak & Math (1991).