Few people have heard of it, yet many consider John Blankenbaker's KENBAK-1 to be the first commercial personal computer.

Koss introduced these headphones over 40 years ago, and they remain affordable favorites to this day.

German Speak & Spell - Word Buddy


I've spoken before about how amazing the Speak & Spell line of toys still are today.  That Texas Instruments was able to put high quality speech synthesis into a toy was simply unheard of.  Today countless toys feature digital speech and elaborate sound effects, but back in the 70's TI had something pretty special.

Almost every kid I knew had a Speak & Spell (it even had a featured role in the film E.T.), and many similar devices followed; Speak & Math, Speak & Read, and even units destined for other countries like the Word Buddy.

Not content to croak robotically in English, Speak & Spell technology appeared in units outside the US.  I've got both La Dictee Magique (French) and Word Buddy (German, and insanely rare for some reason).  Both do a great job enunciating in their respective languages, more testimony to the greatness of that TI speech chip.  I've seen photos online of an Italian unit called "Grillo", and I imagine that there must have been a Spanish unit but I've never seen it.  I hope that any Hispanohablantes out there with a spare one drop me a line in the comments section.

Details about Speak & Spell

More details, including pictures of the innards of a Word Buddy

Smithsonian photos of prototype

Artist who modifies Speak & Spell units to make music


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