Telesensory Systems - any connection to HP?



#9

Good evening!

Recently, I was able to fish this thing out of the bay:

According to a website that google found for me, it is the first talking pocket calculator, a "Speech+" model from Telesensory Systems in Palo Alto, Ca. Inside, it has two large circuit boards full of bad evil chips from Texas Instruments, but the housing looks very HP like: The same kind of plastic, dark brown colour and texture of some HP models.

And even more HP like is the pouch of unusual size 21x15cm or 8x6in: Same colour, same material and it even has the inner pocket of many HP pouches (used here to hold an earplug):

So I'm wondering if this manufacturer was related to HP in any way? Google and Wikipedia couldn't help, but maybe someone on this forum knows more?

Regards, Max

Edited: 24 Nov 2010, 1:24 p.m.


#10

Quote:
Recently, I was able to fish this thing out of the bay:

As in (e)bay, or an actual bay? I ask because I have an employee who literally "fished" a GPS unit out of a seawater bay, and after cleaning up, it worked!

#11

Quote:
As in (e)bay, or an actual bay? I ask because I have an employee who literally "fished" a GPS unit out of a seawater bay, and after cleaning up, it worked!

Wow! No, this calculator wouldn't have survived a bath in seawater, although it is very solidly built, but certainly not watertight. It was indeed eBay.

It has some interesting peculiarities: The keyboard layout is "upside down" for a calculaor (rather like a telephone) and the +/- key is labelled */- and it also speaks "multiply minus" when the key is pressed. Also the memory keys work differently from most other calculators that i've seen.


#12

There's no connection to HP as far as I know. I love this calculator just the same, it's a lot of fun to play with and I've got the audio version of the manual on my site if anyone is interested in hearing how it talks (listen to the examples).

-Katie

Edited: 24 Nov 2010, 5:47 p.m.


#13

Hello!

Quote:
... it's a lot of fun to play with and I've got the audio version of the manual ...

Thanks for the link, mine came without the tape, maybe because I have the german version, and they didn't make a tape for that. If you are interested, I can try and record the speech output in german for your site. I have also got the german manual. Interestingly, it says "klar" for "clear" which is a very unusual term in german for that operation. All my other talking calculators (later models with LCD) say "loeschen" as one would expect. Maybe the speech EPROM was just not big enough for the longer word...

Once again, I was amazed that no fellow collector showed any interest in this item (in fact, I was the only bidder). They easily spend in excess of 100 Euros/Dollars for commonplace calculators like HP-41s. But a german version of a 1976 red led talking calculator must come close to a red dot HP-35 in terms of rarity?

Regards,
max


#14

Max,

I bought a couple of these TSI calculators on TAS and think I paid about $10 for each, I was also surprised at the lack of other bidders. HP calculators are obviously the most "collectible" as are a handful of other brands like Wang and MITS, but the vast number of brands are completely ignored except for certain models (like the Canon Pocketronic). Like many other collecting hobbies, prices are not based primarily on rarity, rather desire for certain brands/models comes first. I don't know if you have a television show like "Antiques Roadshow" in Germany but it makes this fact very apparent.

Sure, if you want to record some of the examples on the audio tape from your German language version of the TSI I'd love to post them on my site.

-Katie

#15

Quote:
It has some interesting peculiarities: The keyboard layout is "upside down" for a calculator (rather like a telephone).

The audio manual that Katie supplied states that this key orientation (like a phone) is an ease-of-use feature.

It also claims the speech feature helps confirm keypress registers. (Think 35s keypress issues).

The audio examples are fun to listen to. Harks back to the very earliest, crude speech synthesis ("computer voice").

Thanks for sharing.

#16

A blind coworker once showed me how he uses the calculator on his iPhone: with one finger he seeks the right button and confirms this by tapping with a second finger. Since VoiceOver is part of the operating system, he can use the same method with any application. For him, the iPhone has the best user interface for a long time. And it doesn't even have keys you could feel.
Devices that are manufactured specifically for the blind are usually bulky and very expensive. Imagine the iPhone if it had been developed specifically for the blind.

Something similar happened with the advent of the fitness craze. Since there were now many foods without sugar, diabetics suddenly had a larger selection. Diet Coke certainly wasn't put out for this target group.

Maybe a little off-topic but this just came to my mind, when I saw the picture of this calculator.

Best regards

Thomas


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