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This modules discusses how the idea for the Speak N Spell was created by Paul Breedlove. It ends with finally gaining funding to produce the first demonstration of the product idea.

Introduction

Paul Breedlove had the idea to create a product that would help children to spell, just as the Little Professor™ Learning aid (1) had done for math. Figure 1 shows a Little Professor, TI's first attempt at moving away from the classical concept of a calculator to a product that would help students learn the concepts of math. Unlike spelling, a math problem can be stated using written words. Or, in the case of the Little Professor, present the math problem minus the solution. The user could then enter the solution to the problem, with three tries at answering, before the correct answer was displayed moving on to the next formula. Addition, subtraction, multiplication and division in four different levels of difficulty were taught. It is worth noting here that several years later we created a talking math product called Speak N Math™(2), see Figure 2.

For the Little Professor the problems and responses were presented using an LED display. In the case of spelling an LED display wouldn't work, the product would need to speak the word to be spelled and then allow the child to enter the spelling of the word. If the spelling was correct the next word would be introduced, if incorrect, the child would be told that it was wrong and allowed to try again. If the response was still incorrect a third time the word would be spelled correctly before moving on to the next word.

The Little Professor learning aid from Texas instruments circa 1976.
The Speak n Math learning aid from Texas Instruments, circa 1980.

There was another interesting concept being developed at TI called “Bubble Memories”. The idea was to store data using magnetic technology to create magnetic bubbles. Bubbles were created and then moved around a designated path using a magnetic field. As they came around the track, they could be read, destroyed or created. The benefit of magnetic bubbles was that they remained stable when the magnetic field was turned off. It was a new concept of a non-volatile memory. Other that the technical difficulties, there was one major issue – what could be done with these memories that couldn’t already be done? That is, what was the killer application that would drive the development. It was a technology looking for a problem to solve.

With this as a background, here is how the idea for the Speak N Spell evolved.

Evolving the idea

When it became apparent that the Little Professor math learning aid was going to be a success, a brainstorming session was called among many people in the corporation, including Jim Moore leader of the consumer calculator design team. Among the possibilities was a spelling learning aid. Other people in the session were looking for killer application(s) for another interesting concept being developed at TI called “Bubble Memories”. They thought it could be a good technology for the non-volatile memory needed to store the spelling lists in such a learning aid. As they continued to brainstorm about the spelling learning aid they came upon a stumbling block; how should the word to be spelled be presented? Several possibilities were discussed, but a suitable solution was not identified.

Questions & Answers

where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
learn
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
learn
Google
da
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Bhagvanji
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
revolt
da
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
Damian
yes that's correct
Professor
I think
Professor
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
Alexandre
nanocopper obvius
Alexandre
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
Rafiq
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
Damian
How we are making nano material?
LITNING Reply
what is a peer
LITNING Reply
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
LITNING Reply
What is STMs full form?
LITNING
scanning tunneling microscope
Sahil
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Santosh
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
Mahi
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
Rafiq
if virus is killing to make ARTIFICIAL DNA OF GRAPHENE FOR KILLED THE VIRUS .THIS IS OUR ASSUMPTION
Anam
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Anam
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
Hafiz
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
Bob
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
brayan
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Damian
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
Renato
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
?
Kyle
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
Adin
why?
Adin
what school?
Kyle
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
Joe
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, The speak n spell. OpenStax CNX. Jan 31, 2014 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11501/1.5
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