Voice synthesizers for legacy systems are getting harder and harder to find these days. The concept for VIC-VODER is to provide modern-day users, enthusiasts, hobbyists and collectors of vintage computer systems an easy means to take full advantage of all the latest advancements in speech technology, while maintaining a form-factor and interface suitable for legacy systems.
Back in the day, low-end units required manual translation of allophones or phonemes from lookup tables in manuals, combined with PEEKs and POKEs, to form words and sentences. Their price was relatively attractive, and they opened up the world of speech to budding developers at home.
The high-end units were primarily designed as assistive technology and were incredibly expensive ($370.00+). These units processed streams of printable ASCII characters and automated the conversion to allophones or phonemes for the synthesizer to reproduce as human speech. They were therefore easier to use, but voice quality still left a lot to be desired. Research into speech technology has continued over the past 30 years, of course, and is much better today.
The inspiration for a modern day Voice Synthesizer for legacy computers began in April, 2013 after the AtariVox+ began shipping for retro-gaming consoles. An early, silicon-based approach was abandoned in May. A second approach began in June that resulted in VIC-VODER.
VIC-VODER only requires your computer to connect to its USER PORT. Nothing else is needed. Everything is contained within the system itself. ...Except for what you want it to say:
1 OPEN 1,2,3,CHR$(10)
2 PRINT#1, "HELLO WORLD"
Now you have the power to say whatever you want. Speaking is as easy as 1, 2, 3. That's VIC-VODER.