Solid State Speech Synthesizer
Texas Instruments Solid State SpeechTM Synthesizer
The TI-99/4A Solid State SpeechTM Synthesizer (Model PHP 1500) is a peripheral add-on for the home computer system that added speech ability to some programs and games for the computer. Some of the popular titles that added speech content when the Speech Synthesizer was connected include Alpiner, Microsurgeon, and Parsec. The speech synthesizer could be purchased separately at first, and later on, was available as a free addition with some software titles that could utilize it, or in packages including the TI-99/4A and other software.
Solid State SpeechTM Synthesizer plugs into the side-car position on the right-hand side of either computer. The speech synthesizer contains a specific vocabulary. The speech synthesizer always needs to be plugged into the first side-car position even if using a peripheral expansion box (PEB). If other peripherals are used, the speech synthesizer always has to be the first peripheral, plugged in, closest to the computer, to work properly.
Initially, Texas Instruments (TI) intended to sell add on vocabulary cartridges that plugged directly into the speech synthesizer into the lifting door on the front of the unit. However; it was quickly realized that vocabulary expansion was easily achieved in software, therefore; the expansion cards were quickly disbanded and never developed or sold for the speech synthesizer. The speech synthesizer was one of the most purchased and available add-on modules around for the TI-99/4 - TI-99/4A system as it was given away near the end of the computer's life with software titles.
Third Party Speech Synthesizer Adaptors
Several third-party hardware vendors created adaptors and add ons specifically for the speech synthesizer. Some allowed the speech synthesizer to be moved into the PEB for example the CorComp Triple-Tech card or the Rave Speech Adapter.
Speech Synthesizer use in Extended Basic
Found on the Speech Editor cartridge comes the commands CALL SAY and CALL SPGET, which enables the use of speech synthesizer for Extended Basic programs. Full instructions for using this, however; were not provided. CALL SAY allows the speech synthesizer to SAY a word from the vocabulary. Words not found within the speech synthesizer's built-in database can be spelled out (phonetically) and still be said in those programs.