let's try this @OCRbot
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In 1986, when Hawking first needed a voice synthesizer, they were commercially available. He first used a software package by Words Plus, Equalizer on a Apple II as the control system.
Sources are vague about the first synthesizer, but by 1988 he was definitely using a Speech Plus CallText 5010. Speech Plus used DECTalk 'Perfect Paul' as single voice for this unit, but had apparently been refining it for 10 years.
So, as far as I can tell, the story of Klatt and Hawking that inspired this thread is largely fiction. I've included links for further reading.
On hardware: the system was divided into the control interface and the synth box. The Apple II ran the first control system, and wasn't portable. Later refinements ran on all sorts of things- Commodore PET, BBC Micro... Intel eventually made him a custom system running ACAT. https://01.org/acat
@M0YNG @yogthos The RPi was emulating the synth box in software- the story of developing that system (included in the links above) is a real saga. There's more on the original synth hardware at http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~peterb/hawking/history.html
This is Dr. Dennis H. Klatt
You probably never heard of him
He is the American computer scientist who gave
Stephen Hawking his artificial voice in the winter of 1987,
at least 5 years before it would have been available.
Over 300 individual recording clips of Dr. Klatts actual
voice are what we heard when Stephen Hawking ‘spoke’.
Dr. Klatt knew Stephen Hawkings life expectancy was
short, so he completed the programming in record time.
Stephen Hawking was extremely grateful and sent Dr. Klatt
a personal letter of thanks and an invitation to visit him.
It was not meant to be. Dr. Klatt died of cancer less than
a year later. He had worked on the voice program while
undergoing chemotherapy, and (ironically) even
after the cancer had taken his own voice.
Over the years, every time Professor Hawkings voice
technology was upgraded he was offered ‘better’, more
natural sounding voices, even one that was customized
to sound like his original voice, British accent included.
He always refused, saying “Thank you, no, my
late friend Dennis‘ voice IS my voice’.
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