[co.general] speech for Commodore 64??

era@era.ucar.edu (Ed Arnold) (12/20/89)

We're using a couple of Commodore 64s in a special ed class for
physically handicapped kids in the local school system.  The teacher
would like to be able to have the C64 speak a choice made by a child,
when the child presses one of several Zygo switches that are hooked to
the machine through a joystick replacer box.

The question is, what's the best hardware and/or software to use for
this purpose that doesn't cost more than about $100?  I've talked to Don
Peterson of the Computer Foundation for Handicapped Children (Tempe,
AZ) who claims that the "SAM/RECITER" program which the Foundation got
from some defunct company, gives about as good speech quality as any
add-on hardware product he's seen.  He claims it can be programmed
easily in BASIC, the only disadvantage being that it eats a lot of

Have also heard of a couple of hardware devices that have been used
with C64s.  One, the "64 Talker" from a company "Talktronics" (which I
assume is defunct), is mentioned in the book, "Using Computers & Speech
Synthesis to Facilitate Communicative Interaction with Young and/or
Severely Handicapped Children", by Linda Burkhart of College Park MD.
Don Peterson also claims that he talked to a blind man in New Hampshire
who had hooked the popular "Echo" speech synthesizer to a C64.

Would appreciate suggestions on the relative speech quality of
SAM/RECITER, vs. the 64 Talker, Echo, or any others.  Also, if one of
the hardware products gives better speech quality, where can I find a
used one, since computer stores don't sell them anymore?

Please e-mail me directly on this, since I don't read this group
regularly; will post a summary if I receive any positive responses.

Thanks in advance for your assistance ...
Ed Arnold * NCAR (Nat'l Center for Atmospheric Research) * Mesa Lab
PO Box 3000 * Boulder, CO  80307-3000 * 303-497-1253(w) * era@ncario.bitnet
era@ncar.ucar.edu [] * {ames,gatech,noao,uunet,...}!ncar!era