Timeline of Computer History
 

1978  
Computers
VAX 11/780
The VAX 11/780 from Digital Equipment Corp. featured the ability to address up to 4.3 gigabytes of virtual memory, providing hundreds of times the capacity of most minicomputers.
Robots & Artificial Intelligence
Speak & Spell creators
Texas Instruments Inc. introduced Speak & Spell, a talking learning aid for ages 7 and up. Its debut marked the first electronic duplication of the human vocal tract on a single chip of silicon. Speak & Spell utilized linear predictive coding to formulate a mathematical model of the human vocal tract and predict a speech sample based on previous input. It transformed digital information processed through a filter into synthetic speech and could store more than 100 seconds of linguistic sounds.

Shown here are the four individuals who began the Speak & Spell program: From left to right, Gene Frantz, Richard Wiggins, Paul Breedlove, and George Brantingham.
Storage
Original Shugart SA400 5 1/4
The 5 1/4" flexible disk drive and diskette were introduced by Shugart Associates in 1976. This was the result of a request by Wang Laboratories to produce a disk drive small enough to use with a desktop computer, since 8" floppy drives were considered too large for that purpose. By 1978, more than 10 manufacturers were producing 5 1/4" floppy drives.

 


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