Texas Instruments
Texas Instruments

Mention to any person who grew up in the eighties the name Texas Instruments and they most likely would think about dull maths lessons and the Texas Instrument calculators they used. Texas Instruments, or TI as they are often abbreviated to is largely a semi-conductor manufacturer, and amongst other things made chips for many home computers from the eighties - including the Vic 20, Commodore 64, Atari 400 and their own computer the TRS-80.

They also made the worlds first single chip speech simulator in 1978. This was incorporated into the Speak & Spell educational game shown below which almost everyone will remember from Steven Spielbergs' 1982 film E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial in the scene where E.T. 'phones home'. The Speak & Spell was one of a series of three educational games from TI, the other two being Speak & Math, and Speak & Read.

Many Dance tracks feature samples from Speak and Spell machines, and DJ's quite often use Speak & Spells to produce effects as they can be quite easily 'circuit-bent' which is the process of short circuiting electronic audio devices to produce 'random' sound effects.

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