Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011

Speak & Spell

One of the first in what would become a long line of electronic educational toys, Texas Instruments' Speak & Spell debuted at the Consumer Electronics Show in 1978. The gadget had a speech synthesizer, a keyboard, an LCD screen and an expansion port for cartridges to play games like Hangman. Unlike its predecessors, this toy didn't use prerecorded speech to help kids learn to spell and pronounce words. The Speak & Spell was available in seven languages until the 1990s, when it was superseded by more advanced electronic reading toys, including the LeapPad system, which allowed kids to touch letter combinations or words with a stylus to hear them pronounced.