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SIGNALS RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT ESTABLISHMENT (SRDE)


Christchurch, England

1976 Became part of new Royal Signals and Radar Establishment (RSRE)


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HISTORY OF THE ORGANIZATION


The Signals Research and Development Establishment (SRDE) evolved
from early government laboratories for military telecommunications
and radar. By 1949, SRDE was funded by the Ministry of Supply to 
investigate methods of speech bandwidth compression for encryption 
security of military messages.  A second benefit of the work would
be in techniques for more efficient use of communication facilities,
particularly transatlantic cables. SRDE conducted some research, 
itself, and supervised contract research at other laboratories.


1991 ("An interview with Adrian Fourcin, Professor of Experimental 
     Phonetics at University College London", Roger Bridgman, Science 
     Museum London, Dec. 10, 1991. Transcription SSSHP 105, in SSSHP 
     UK Univ. College file.)

     Professor Fourcin reviews his education and career, including
     the National Physical Laboratory, Imperial College with 
     Dennis Gabor and Colin Cherry, CNRS in France with Marcou and
     Daguet, Signals Research and Development Establishment with 
     Walter Lawrence and Ralph Eades on speech synthesis, a visit
     to Haskins Laboratories, NY, on pitch perception, and finally
     University College London, on speech and hearing science with 
     Dennis Fry.


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PROJECT: PAT - PARAMETRIC ARTIFICIAL TALKER (1949? - 1961)


A study of speech bandwidth compression by encoding formant 
information. Two-way communication devices were later called 
"formant-tracking vocoders". PAT was a model of the destination
device, the vocoder synthesizer, but artificially controlled
from a multi-channel function generator.

First parallel resonance (formant) synthesizer.  Glass slide with
four painted patterns was used to generate six time functions to
control the speech synthesizer: three formant frequencies, voice 
on/off & fundamental frequency, and noise on/off.  The glass slide 
was scanned with a "flying-spot" cathode ray tube light source and
photo-electric cell. Formant waveforms created by heterodyning an 
amplitude-modulated 10 kHz wave with a fixed-amplitude variable-
frequency oscillator.


1953 Lawrence, W., "The synthesis of speech from signals which
     have a low information rate", COMMUNICATION THEORY, ed. by
     Willis Jackson, Butterworth & Co., Ltd., 460-469 (1953)
     (B,I,K)

     Tape? ("How d'you do?")


19?? Lawrence, W., "The use of synthetic speech as an aid to the
     study of speech apprehension," tape-recorded lecture. Copy
     of tape dated 12/15/61 from the Univ. of Michigan, Comm. Sci. 
     Lab. 

     SSSHP 119.1 Tape: "Lawrence-PAT/U of M, 12-15-61"
           (Lecture, PAT driven from 6-contour pattern; 
           syn: "What did you say before that?, variations")
            7" reel, 7 1/2 ips, good quality, 3rd gen copy
           (Maxey Tape T61.1) Another copy on SSSHP 120.10.


1956 Lawrence, W., joint presentation with G. Fant and OVE-I at
     MIT conference in Cambridge, MA. Conversation between PAT and
     OVE-I hardware on stage at the conference.

        According to F.S. Cooper, at a later demonstration 
        Lawrence was the subject of a friendly spoof of his 
        synthesizer, by J.C.R. Licklider.  After Lawrence 
        had finished his demonstration, turned off the equip-
        ment, and sat down, a hidden speaker suddenly burst 
        forth with a torrent of "What did you say before that?",
        seemingly from the unpowered PAT.

     SSSHP 83.8 Tape: "Some Reminiscences on Speech Research",
          F.S. Cooper, demo with IEEE Trans. A&E, AU-21.3, 6/73.
          (OVE: "How are you?"; PAT: "What did you say before
          that?"; OVE: "I love you."; PAT: "What did you say
          before that?"; OVE: "How are you?"; PAT, normal and
          whispered: "What did you say before that?"; OVE: "I
          love you."; PAT, singing: "What did you say before
          that?")
          Cassette from plastic record, stylus noise
      
     SSSHP 90.5a Tape: "MIT - MACHINES THAT TALK, Spring 1960"
          (syn, x3: "What did you say before that? Tea or
          coffee?  Half an hour. Shut the door. What have you
          done with it?")
          (syn, var syn settings: "What have you done with it?")
          7" reel, 7.5 ips, good quality, copy of MIT 7-36
                  ****  use for master  ****

     SSSHP 32.3 Tape: Demo to accompany "Review of text-to-speech
          conversion for English," D.H. Klatt, JASA 82.3, Sept.
          1987.
          (syn: "What did you say before that?  Tea or coffee.
          What have you done with it?")
          Cassette, Klatt MIT A/D and D/A conversion of SSSHP
          90.5a


1957 A new conductive-ink/resistive-roller function generator 
     for PAT, by Adrian J. Fourcin. (See SSSHP SWEDEN RIT and 
     SSSHP USA MELPAR for later function generators of this type.)

     ARTIFACT: One model has been offered to the Smithsonian
          by Prof. Fourcin 


1960 Fourcin, A., "A Potential Dividing Function Generator for 
     the Control of Speech Synthesis", J. Acoust. Soc. Amer., 
     32, 11, p.1501, Nov. 1960 (Abstract).
            ********* is there a written paper? **************


1960 Lawrence, W., "Parametric artificial talking device", J.
     Acoust. Soc. Amer., 32, 11, p.1501, Nov. 1960 (Abstract).
     Serial or parallel PAT, 12-channel function generator with
     conductive ink and resistive rollers. Two of the first 
     utterances of PAT with this more elaborate control.

                 ****  is there a written paper?  ****

     SSSHP 90.5a Tape: "MIT - MACHINES THAT TALK, Spring 1960"
          (syn, x3: "Do you understand what I say to you? Eye 
           on Research.")
          7" reel, 7.5 ips, good quality, copy of MIT 7-36
                  ****  use for master  ****


1962 Anthony, J., and W. Lawrence, "A resonance analogue speech
     synthesizer", Proc. Fourth Int. Congr. Acoustics, Paper G43,
     Copenhagen, Organization Committee (1962). A later model of 
     PAT at the Univ. of Edinburgh. Contains drawing of the 
     Fourcin function generator from SRDE.


1962 Anthony, J.K.F., Stockholm Speech Communication Seminar. 
     Synthesis from function generator: PAT, Phonetics Dept., 
     Edinburgh Univ., Scotland. 

     SSSHP 125.9 "SCS - 1962/Stockholm Vocoder Demo Tape Sept. 1962".
     (syn, M-male, F-female):
     "Welcome to the Stockholm Speech Communication Seminar." (M)
     (23 CV's, female, then male)
     "Hello." (F)
     "Hello, is Docent Fant there?" (M)
     "No, he isn't, he is out right now. Can I take a message? (F)
     "Yes, please. Would you ask him to call 23 65 20. (M)


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BIOGRAPHIES


JAMES ANTHONY (See SSSHP UK University of Edinburgh)


ADRIAN J. FOURCIN (See SSSHP UK University College London)


WALTER LAWRENCE

     education
     employment
195? SRDE
1957 Senior Principal Scientific Officer, SRDE
1965 retired from SRDE
1965 Senior Lecturer, Univ. of Edinburgh, with David Abercrombie
1984 Deceased


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REVIEWED BY:

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Smithsonian Speech Synthesis History Project
Division of Information Technology and Society
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AMERICAN HISTORY
Smithsonian Institution - Washington, D.C. 20560