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Thread: Software Automated Mouth

  1. #1
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    Default Software Automated Mouth

    I found a disk image copy of this program on the internet. It's in a SIT archive. Just reply if you're interested in a copy.
    Rick Ethridge

  2. #2

    Default SAM

    Thanks Rick -- I found it here: http://homepage.mac.com/vectronic/appleii/sam.html -- is that the same page you're looking at?
    @ Founder, Vintage Computer Federation -- resigned Dec. 2019
    @ Author, Abacus to smartphone: The evolution of mobile and portable computers
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  3. #3
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    Default

    Does it do speech-to-text, or just text-to-speech? I don't have any Apple to try it on, but I'm curious as to how it compares to more modern software. I just spent 2.5 hours yesterday installing & training Dragon Point & Speak. What a disappointment! It's speech recognizer really sux!

    --T
    Teach your children how to think, not what, and hold 'em close, not tight.
    _____________________________________________

    Please visit the Vintage-Computer Wiki. Contributers welcome.

  4. #4
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    Default

    S.A.M. as I know it is a software speech synthesizer, i.e. it will "speak" what you write to it, but no attempt at recording or recognizing. There were other hard/software solutions for various computers that tried to do that with various success.

    S.A.M. was able for the Apple II, Atari 8-bit and Commodore 64; maybe even IBM PC(jr).
    Anders Carlsson

  5. #5
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    Default

    Yeah, I used to enjoy playing around with the speech synthesizer on my TI-99/4A. It was really quite advanced for it's time.

    --T
    Teach your children how to think, not what, and hold 'em close, not tight.
    _____________________________________________

    Please visit the Vintage-Computer Wiki. Contributers welcome.

  6. #6
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    Default

    Speak and Spell, wasn't it? I think it uses a special chip that generates the speech, also available for other computers, rather than being software generated by the computer's sound chip.
    Anders Carlsson

  7. #7

    Default

    the latest computer collector newsletter has an article on text to speech:


    >> WELCOME TO THE COMPUTER COLLECTOR NEWSLETTER

    >> W: http://news.computercollector.com E: news@computercollector.com

    >> Vol. 4, Issue 4: Jan. 24, 2005: News/opinion, tidbits, classifieds

    ****************************************
    NEWS & OPINION

    The history of computer text-to-speech synthesis
    by Evan Koblentz

    Does your computer talk? Or rather, does it talk any better than it
    could approximately 25 years ago?

    That's right: we're "talking" about Software Automated Mouth, better
    known as SAM, developed mostly by Mark Burton in 1979. The company,
    SoftVoice, still exists today at http://www.text2speech.com. The
    story of how Steve Jobs used SAM to make the Macintosh computer
    "introduce itself" in 1984 is detailed at this very long web address:
    http://www.folklore.org/StoryView.py...tory=Intro_Dem
    o.txt&topic=Marketing&sortOrder=Sort+by+Date&detai l=medium&showcomment
    s=1 (copy and paste the link because it will break across lines) but
    we prefer http://homepage.mac.com/vectronic/appleii/sam.html
    where you can actually download the stuffed software for Apple II
    computers! (Soon we're acquiring a //c and looking forward to getting
    this great memory from the past.) There is also a Wikipedia entry at
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_Automatic_Mouth although we
    don't particularly trust the accuracy of Wikipedia entries.

    SAM is very neat, but we wondered: what came before it? What is the
    real history of computer text-to-speech synthesis? In short, what was
    the first machine -- computer or not -- to speak for itself? A-
    Googling we went in search of some answers.

    We found the web site http://www.ling.su.se/staff/hartmut/kemplne.htm
    where Prof. Hartmut Traunmüller reports: "The first attempts to
    produce human speech by machine were made in the 2nd half of the 18th
    century. Ch. G. Kratzenstein, professor of physiology in Copenhagen,
    previously in Halle and Petersburg, succeeded in producing vowels
    using resonance tubes connected to organ pipes (1773)."

    But there is a difference between the first attempts at something and
    the first actual success. The professor continues: "[Wolfgang] Von
    Kempelen's machine was the first that allowed to produce not only some
    speech sounds, but also whole words and short sentences," described in
    a paper by Von Kempelen in 1791.

    Kempelen, as many computer history buffs already know, is more famous
    for building a supposedly automated chess-playing machine, described
    in great detail by writer Tom Standage in his 2002 book, "The Turk".
    That chess machine turned out to be a fraud -- a short human was
    always hidden inside -- but the speaking machine was real. Standage
    explains how telegraph pioneer Charles Wheatstone built a copy of the
    machine in 1863 and demonstrated it to a young Alexander Graham Bell.
    (Visit http://www.ling.su.se/staff/hartmut/farkas.htm for many more
    web sites and biographical references about Von Kempelen.)

    Jump back to 1979: Texas Instruments was one of a few companies
    selling handheld language translator devices. TI engineers
    understood, however, that merely reading a foreign language was
    useless if you didn't know how to pronounce the word. So they built
    speech synthesis into the product using off-the-shelf technology from
    their own parts bin: anyone remember the "Speak & Spell" toy? TI used
    the toy chip while Burton and his colleagues were working on software
    solutions! There are some fascinating specifications and other
    details at http://www.datamath.org/Speech/LanguageTutor.htm. (I used
    to own one of these devices, but gave it to VCF chief Sellam Ismail.
    Unfortunately I did not record any audio clips from it.)

    So again, we ask: does your computer talk any better than it could
    approximately 25 years ago? Share your early text-to-speech tales
    with us at news@computercollector.com.

    [Note: we requested an interview with Mark Barton. We'll post the
    results of that interview on the CCN web site when available.]

    ---------------------------------------
    The vic rocks!

  8. #8
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by carlsson
    Speak and Spell, wasn't it? I think it uses a special chip that generates the speech, also available for other computers, rather than being software generated by the computer's sound chip.
    Speak & Spell was quite a different animal, marketed as an educational toy for children, but it probably utilized the same chip, a TI proprietary design. The speech synthizer was an add-on for the TI99, which jacked into the expansion port on the side. It had a built-in vocabulary of several hundred words, plus a good number of built-in phonomes that could be programmed to pronounce other words not in the vocabulary. Funny thing is tho, IIRC, you couldn't program it directly from TI BASIC. You needed to have another cartridge, the Terminal Emulator to program the phonomes with. There were also a few games cartridges released which utilized the speech synthizer to speak with.

    --T
    Teach your children how to think, not what, and hold 'em close, not tight.
    _____________________________________________

    Please visit the Vintage-Computer Wiki. Contributers welcome.

  9. #9

    Default SAM, etc....

    Just to clear this up... my inspiration for writing about SAM, etc. in this week's Computer Collector Newsletter was actually a conversation with Rick a few days ago... we were talking along with several other people in the weekly chat at http://www.geocities.com/c64friends/ ... the topic happened to turn to synthesis and I brought up SAM, then Rick said he'd posted the relevant link here for me (and others) to get to afterwards.

    Anyway, to Vic and everyone else: I hope you found the article educational and entertaining. I'm always looking for new story ideas if anyone has some (and looking for writers too... you try putting out a newsletter virtually alone each week!)
    @ Founder, Vintage Computer Federation -- resigned Dec. 2019
    @ Author, Abacus to smartphone: The evolution of mobile and portable computers
    @ My homepage
    @ My Lego Robotics Page

  10. #10
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    Default

    Gee, 1773.. if one produced a machine that could make sounds similar to human speech, I would suppose you got accused of witchcraft, or maybe that was a century earlier.
    Anders Carlsson

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