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TI's DSP History in Pictures

Module by: Gene Frantz. E-mail the author

Summary: This is an electronic version of a book I wrote several years ago depicting Texas instruments' history of the Single Chip Digital Signal processor. It starts with the Speak n Spell learning aid, introduced in 1978, and concludes with the TMS320C80. Since then we have continued our drive into higher performance Embedded Processors enabled by advances in digital signal processing theories and architectures. So, there is much more to talk about beyond this book. But this book focuses on that 25 year era when Digital Signal Processors were born until their maturing into our present DSP enabled Embedded Processors.

This picture book will give you a fresh perspective on the history of digital signal processing (DSP) at Texas Instruments and insight into the journey which began with the birth of Digital Signal Processor. That first Digital Signal Processor, The Speak & Spell™ speech synthesis chip began the era of the digital world around us. As a side note, the Speak & Spell™ had two other surprises during its development: 1) the largest memory device at the time of its introduction and an innovative shift in education where technology was accepted to help children learn.

Included in the printed book were some of the actual ICs created during TI’s Digital Signal Processor’s history. Two of the Speak & Spell™ devices were state-of-the-art breakthroughs in technology! The third device in the chi-pset,the controller TMC0271 (a derivative of the TMS1000) was designed specifically for the product. You can still find a Speak & Spell on eBay if you want to own a piece of history.

You will also enjoy some of the side stores and trivia that I have added.

Don’t think this to be the end of TI’s DSP history. We have successfully moved DSP from a product offering to the enabler of all of our Embedded Products and several of our analog circuits. Product families such as Da Vinci, OMAP, MSP430, among others are enabled by the DSPs we created and continue to create.

The first graphic is the front and back cover of the book. The years 1975 to 2000 were those prior to expanding the technology to all of our Embedded Processors. perhaps we will put together similar books covering them. After the cover, the next 14 graphics are the pages from book. In the printed version each page was thick enough to allow the Integrated Circuit from that family to be attached. With this as an introduction to the book, the rest is here for you to enjoy.

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