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There were many individuals who contributed to the success of the Speak N Spell. This list should show the breadth of capabilities needed to successfully take the Speak N Spell from an idea to a product on the retailer's shelf.

Exhaustive list of people who worked on the Speak N Spell program

It is important to acknowledge as many of the individuals as possible who contributed to the success of the Speak N Spell program. Here is that list.

Original team

  • Paul Breedlove: Paul was the originator of the idea and was the original Program Manager for the Speak&Spell™.
  • Richard Wiggins: Richard was responsible for developing the speech synthesis algorithm used in Speak&Spell™ and for the software that produced the data used to generate the spoken words using the speech synthesis Integrated Circuit.
  • Larry Brantingham: Larry was responsible for the architecture of the four Integrated Circuits used in the Speak&Spell™. Together Richard and Larry created the world’s first Digital Speech Synthesis device.
  • Gene Frantz: Gene was responsible for the system design and became the Program Manager after Paul was moved to another program. He also was responsible for taking the Speak&Spell™ into production.


  • George Doddington: Head of the Speech Research laboratory, part of the Central Research Laboratories (CRL), at TI. Richard reported to him. The first demonstration of the Speak N Spell used George’s voice. He would have done well as the production voice but it was decided to hire a professional speaker rather than an internal individual.
  • Gene Helms: I called him “Gene Helms the elder”. He was head of the Corporate Engineering Center (CEC), a sister organization to the Central Research Laboratory (CRL).
  • Gene Helms: I called him “Gene Helms the lesser”. He worked with Richard to develop the various software systems that processed speech data and generated and optimized the ROM data that generated the high quality speech from small amounts of data.

Product Development

  • W. R. Hawkins: Mechanical engineering manager. When it seemed appropriate, I reported to him or he reported to me.
  • Richard Chang: Designed the plastic case. Richard reported to W. R. After the program was over, Richard moved back to Dallas to get his doctorate degree from SMU.
  • Ajay Puri: Electrical engineer who reported to me. He later left TI and got his MBA at Harvard University. One of the case studies he had to read was the one on the Speak N Spell.
  • Gene Sulik: Industrial design. Gene was responsible for the concept design
  • Glen Thornton: Responsible for writing the software on the TMC0271 and formatting the ROMs to pack the necessary data for the product to work.
  • Jim Moore: Jim was Paul’s boss and collaborated with Paul to invent the Speak N Spell idea.

Speech Processing

  • Kathy Goudie Marshall: Speech linguist
  • Mai Vinson: French speech editor
  • Uta: German speech editor
  • Vicki Smith: English speech editor
  • Doug Wickey: English speech editor
  • Mary Marimontes: Spanish speech editor

IC Design

  • K. Bala: IC design manager in Houston
  • Alva Henderson: Architecture team in Lubbock. Alva built the three simulators that were used for the software development and many product demonstrations. Alva reported to Larry.

Production start up

  • Eugene “Mitch” Mitchell: Mitch was the Product Engineering Manager in Midland Texas where we ramped the Speak N Spell into production.
  • Ron Shelly: Ron was a Vice President. As I remember he was in charge of manufacturing. He later became my boss. I still think of him with great respect.
  • Ron Web: Ron was the quality control manager for the Consumer Group.
  • Dick Jensen: Dick was the quality control engineer that took the preproduction devices and qualified the product before shipping. He helped us through several significant issues including key breakage, static discharge failure and drop test failures.

Market development

  • Alecia Helton: Alecia was responsible for the educational soundness of Speak N Spell and the children's books that accompanied the product.  She described what she did during the recording and verification process to assure correct pronunciation as "maximizing the intelligibility of the synthesized speech within the technical parameters".  
  • Ralph A. Oliva: Marketing Communications Manager and Alecia's boss.  Ralph had overall responsibility for the marketing communications and advertising programs for Speak N Spell.
  • Bryce Armstrong: Original voice to demonstrate various personalities of the product.
  • Hank Carr: The voice of the Speak N Spell. He had a “boring” LPC voice just like George Doddington and me (Gene).
  • William Kottmeyer: Spelling expert who provided the vocabulary list.

Corporate Support

  • Andrew Dillon: Patent Lawyer
  • Robert Marshall: Patent Lawyer
  • Wally Rhines: Calculator Division IC design manager
  • Fred Bucy: TI’s CEO
  • George Heilmeyer: TI’s CTO
  • Bill Sick: One of the Calculator Division Business Managers during the time of the development.
  • Ron Richie: One of the Calculator Division Business Managers during the time of the development.

Questions & Answers

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
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
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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