On 14th March 2018, when Stephen Hawking died, the world lost one of its great minds. His courage, his determination and his sheer brilliance in his chosen field made him stand out as someone who made his mark on the world, despite all the adversity he faced.
What was little known, up to this point, was that his voice, for a few months before his death, was powered by a Raspberry Pi!
A team lead by Eric Dorsey, a Palo Alto engineer, had worked steadfastly for the previous few years to re-create Hawking’s distinctive electronic voice. For more than 30 years, Hawking’s voice was the product of a piece of technology called the CallText 5010, a commercial voice synthesizer. This equipment was slowly starting to fail and Dorsey was called in to try to save the voice that Hawking had grown so attached to, American accent and all. Eventually, several years later, they had managed to replicate the voice as near as possible on a Linux system. This Linux-based code was then ported to a Raspberry Pi so that it could be strapped to Hawking’s wheelchair with Velcro and plugged into his speakers.
Each Friday is PiDay here at Adafruit! Be sure to check out our posts, tutorials and new Raspberry Pi related products. Adafruit has the largest and best selection of Raspberry Pi accessories and all the code & tutorials to get you up and running in no time!
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, or even use Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for MakeCode, CircuitPython, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.