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Old voice synthesizer chips required...

Discussion in 'Electronic Repair' started by Andre, Apr 13, 2004.

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  1. Andre

    Andre Guest

    Hi group,

    Anyone here have any ideas what chip Prof. Stephen Hawking's voice
    synthesizer uses? I see that he may need a replacement shortly if it
    ever goes wrong, as the chip is no longer manufactured this could be
    near impossible.

    Original text follows...

    London, Apr.12 (ANI):

    Professor Stephen Hawking is in danger of losing his 'Dalek' voice
    because an irreplaceable computer chip in the paralysed scientist's
    electronic voicebox is at risk of breaking down due to old age.

    Nevertheless, Hawking, 62, is against switching to a new software that
    would give him a different sound. The author of the bestseller 'A
    Brief History Of Time' has used the gadget since losing his voice in

    "You can't buy the voice any more. Individual parts can be replaced
    when they blow, but if the voice chip went we'd be in trouble. As
    Stephen lives a very active life, every few days some
    accident or other will happen," The Sun quoted Tom Pelly, Hawking's
    technical assistant, as saying.

    Hawking, who is crippled by motor neurone disease, can use two fingers
    to click on words highlighted on a computer screen. The words are
    converted by an adapted special synthesiser and broadcast by
    loudspeakers, sounding just like a 'Dalek' from TV show 'Dr Who'.

    "He's very against changing his voice. Although it sounds inhuman, it
    pronounces words a lot better than software voices, which is quite
    important in lectures," Pelling added

  2. Russell K

    Russell K Guest

    I use a program called SayzMe to read text aloud.
    I think it sounds very much like his voice.
    Perhaps the software could be adapted.
  3. jtech

    jtech Guest

    Hard to find the chip since no numbers were mentioned? What is the part
    number etc. One of us may have 1 or 2
  4. Garrett Mace

    Garrett Mace Guest

    I highly doubt that a 20-year-old voice chip is going to work better than
    today's speech synthesis. I have some difficulty understanding Prof.
    Hawking. Maybe he should just suck it up and work something out with these

    Of all people to embrace new technology, you'd think Hawking would be the
  5. But the article makes it seem like he wants to keep his old voice.
    Not really unexpected, since we have gotten used to it.

    There really can't be a problem in emulating the old one.
    Get the existing sounds by sampling the outputs if there's no
    other way. Then someone can write a synthesizer program for
    a cheap laptop that does the same thing using those sounds.
    One can even build up a keyboard just like he has now.

    A lot of thsoe old voice synthesizers were popular becasue
    they could be used in embedded systems where resources were
    low, and because back then any small computer had limited
    resources. Who had space, in ROM, or on floppy disks, to
    store sounds? But small computers have dwarfed anything
    from twenty years ago (except for mainframes), and there
    should be no limitation in emulating that old voice synthesizer
    on a cheap used laptop.

  6. jakdedert

    jakdedert Guest

    ....or taking it 'down' for a few minutes in order to dump the contents of
    the actual voice chip, in order to program a PROM.

  7. I was going to say something like that, but it really depends on
    the IC. The ones that come to mind were not readable in that way.

    I suppose the article wasn't really silly, but in the context of
    this newsgroup it is silly that the article didn't mention the
    IC number. As someone suggested, someone might have one, but
    will never know unless the part gets publicized. And if we
    had the part number, unless it was completely obscure, we
    could all be looking at the datasheet to see what is
    needed to emulate the thing.

  8. Tim Marcus

    Tim Marcus Guest

    exactly - they should spend time sampling everything from that chip
    before it goes. Then they can use software to model the chip, and it
    will sound the same. They do this kind of stuff with audio gear all
    the time - for example Native Instruments and Emagic. They make
    software that sounds like vintage keyboard instruments (which weigh
    like 300 pounds and are huge) - I am sure they would cut a deal with
    Mr. Hawking... maybe even make a buck or two selling the software to
    other people who want to emulate his voice.
  9. jakdedert

    jakdedert Guest

    Given that the various conditions which necessitate these sorts of devices
    are often fatal, someone, somewhere; has one of these units, which a
    deceased family member no longer needs....

    In fact I know a person who uses one...maybe not the same brand, and he's
    not dead; but it demonstrates that this shouldn't be all that big a problem,
    given Mr. Hawking's status and worldwide reputation.

    I wonder what the 'real' reason for posting this is.

  10. Andre

    Andre Guest

    I've asked, and no response so far.
  11. Neil

    Neil Guest

    Ummm....I don't think any of us should really worry about 'ol Steven, after
    al, he has more money than all of us put together. If he needs a new synth
    chip, I'm fairly certain that a couple of hundred thousand thrown around
    would loosen them up from their respective dusty drawers. Maybe if he hadn't
    decided to bang the wife of the guy that designed the unit for him, then
    ultimately fire the guy as well, once the story became known, he wouldn't
    have this problem. Oh...and I forgot...he also never got around to paying
    the original guy that made/designed the unit as well, after banging the guys
    wife, and firing him.
    Poor, poor Mr Hawking....whatever shall he do???.
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