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Cambridge MA 02139

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Kurzweil Computer Products, Inc., was established in 1974 to
develop the Kurzweil Reading Machine, a reading machine for 
people with impaired vision. The technology for the machine dates
back to 1966 and Raymond Kurzweil's interest in pattern recognition
and work on artificial intelligence and speech perception while a
student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A key later
development, by 1970, were computer algorithms for recognizing 
printed and typed letters in many font types and from a variety of
printing processes. (THE KURZWEIL REPORT, Vol. 1, No. 1, Spring 1978)

In 1980, Kurzweil Computer Products was acquired by the Xerox Corp.
for $3.6 million. (BUSINESS WEEK, Sept. 22, p.46N, 1980)

Early models of the reading machine used commercial speech 
synthesizers operated from computer software developed by Steven
Pelletier. Later models used commercial text-to-speech systems.

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1966 Research on character recognition begun by Raymond Kurzweil
     at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

1970 Print-to-speech reading machine project begun

1973 Company established. Staff included Richard Brown, Allen
     Becker, David Boucher, Randall Stern, Gregory Mott, Aaron
     Kleiner, and Barry Unger from MIT; Steven Pelletier from
     Harvard; Harry George from Bowdoin.

1974 KRM-I prototype using Votrax VS-6 speech synthesizer in
     external package. Early grapheme to phoneme rules used Naval
     Research Laboratory model (see SSSHP USA Naval Research Lab-
     oratory file) with disk-based exception dictionary.  Over
     1000 linguistic rules, 2000-word exception dictionary,
     syntactical rules for stress.  S. Pelletier was responsible
     for speech development

     Tape ?

1975 KRM-I prototype user interface developed by S. Pelletier
     making novel use of speech output, including "Nominator" key
     for naming other keys on the keypad.  In addition to speech
     output, a KRM had speech user controls for repeating
     characters, words, and lines, and for moving a pointer in a
     text buffer.  KRM-I prototype demonstrated to government and
     private agencies.

     Tape ?

1976 First public demonstration. KRM-I prototypes delivered to end
     users for $50,000.  Votrax VS-6 synthesizer was packaged
     within scanner box.  S. Pelletier extended and rewrote
     grapheme-to-phoneme rules to radically reduce the size of the
     exception dictionary (to around 1500 words) so that entire
     text-to-speech algorithm could run in 32KB of memory on a
     Data General Nova 1200 computer, without a disk.

     Kurzweil, R., "The Kurzweil Reading Machine: a technical
     M.R. Redden and W. Schwandt, Amer. Assoc. Advance. of Science
     Report 76-R-11, 3-11 (1976). Used Votrax synthesizer. Later
     models used Speech Plus Inc. Prose-2000.  (K)

     SSSHP 32.27 Tape: Demo to accompany "Review of Text-to-speech
          conversion for English," D.H. Klatt, JASA 82.3, Sep 1987.
          (4 sen: "Hello, I am ... Please enter a command.")
          Cassette, Klatt MIT A/D and D/A of videotape of CBS
          broadcast, borrowed 11/8/86 from Kurzweil Comp. Prod.

1977 KRM-II developed using same speech synthesizer as KRM-I. S.
     Pelletier began development of proprietary Kurzweil phoneme-
     to-speech synthesizer.  Sonograph spectrum analyzer was used
     to extract formant frequency information from recorded speak-
     ers at Kurzweil.  Tim Platt began work on talking calculator
     software for next generation KRM.

1978 THE KURZWEIL REPORT, Vol. 1, No. 2, Summer 1978.

     Announcement of KRM-II (The Desk Top KRM - $19,400) using
     Votrax VS-6 (?). New "Hand-scanning" feature. Improved
     linguistic modules for syllabification, morphological
     analysis, and sentence parsing.  Talking calculator feature.
     48 KRMs in the field.


     Analog formant hardware synthesizer developed at Kurzweil by
     Steven Goldstein, based on preliminary design licensed from
     Computalker Consultants (see SSSHP USA Computalker Consult-
     ants).  This was a single, low-cost board (UMC less than $300),
     programmable synthesizer that received 8 (?) speech parameter
     values (F1, F2, F3, frication, hiss, time constants for
     formants) every 10 milliseconds from software running in the
     KRM main computer.  This new software, written by S. Pelletier,
     provided formant synthesis-by-rule, using parameters based on
     his research.

1979 THE KURZWEIL REPORT, Number 3, Spring 1979. Talking Terminal
     announced for fall 1979 ($3650 or $18/week rental). KRM-II
     lease/purchase plan ($98/week for 5 years + $1940 to buy).
     Plastic diskette of Kurzweil speech synthesis technique by
     Steve Pelletier to be used in Talking Terminal and next model
     of KRM (KRM-III).

     Desk Top KRM demonstrated at Smithsonian Museum of History
     and Technology, Hall of Medicine, Rehabilitation Discovery

     KRM-III (Desktop KRM) delivered to customers using Kurzweil
     synthesizer. Speech software included limited sentence level
     prosodics based on keyword parts of speech and punctuation,
     word morphological analysis, text-to-phoneme conversion,
     phoneme-to-synthesizer parameter rules, and a single-board

     SSSHP 145 Plastic Cassette: "A Report on the Kurzweil Reading
           Machine for the Blind," Kurzweil Computer Products.
           ("A,B,C's, numbers, dollars, O say can you see...,
           A horse is a horse..., Four score and seven...")
           33 1/3 rpm plastic diskette accompanying The Kurzweil
           Report, No. 3, Spring 1979. See SSSHP USA Kurzweil file.
           (Maxey T79.1)

1980 Product Brochure 10/1/80: KRM-III ($29,800, $2100/yr
     maintenance). 200 KRMs in use. Company purchased by the
     Xerox Corporation.

1984 KRM-IV (KRM Series 400) was introduced, utilizing Prose 2000
     Text-to-Speech licensed from Telesensory Systems, Inc.  (now
     Speech Plus, Inc.) (see SSSHP USA Telesensory Systems, Inc.
     file).  The Prose 2000 board was a completely digital
     synthesizer, using a DSP chip for speech waveform generation.
     KRM-IV included software for reading machine for the blind,
     talking calculator, and (through secret key sequence) a
     talking version of the Adventure computer game.

     SSSHP 22 Tape: KRM Series 400 Demonstration, 1984.
           (simulated interview, syn: Robert Frost poem, explan.
            of how it works)
           Cassette, one side, good quality

1985 KRM-IV European language versions introduced. Used Infovox
     SA-101 technology licensed from Infovox S.A. of Sweden (see
     SSSHP SWEDEN Royal Institute of Technology file). KRM-IV has
     character recognition and speech output for English, French,
     German, Italian, Spanish, and Swedish.

1988 Kurzweil Personal Reader introduced in April and delivered to
     users in August. Price ranged from $7,995 to $11,995. First
     portable reading machine for the blind with hand-held scanner
     and page scanner options. Used DECtalk English speech
     technology licensed from Digital Equipment Corporation (see
     SSSHP USA Digital Equipment Corp.). Multiple "voices" are used
     for error messages and normal reading.

     SSSHP 20 Product Brochures: Personal Reader, 1988

     SSSHP 21 Tape: Xerox/Kurzweil Personal Reader Demonstration
           (syn: extensive explanation by Personal Reader about
            how it works)
            Cassette, both sides, good quality

     A later version, the Reading Edge, was smaller and priced at

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     Analog Devices,         , CA


1970 BS in computer science and literature, Mass. Inst. of Tech.,
     Cambridge, MA
1974 Founded Kurzweil Computer Products, Inc.
1982 Founded Kurzweil Applied Intelligence, Inc. and Kurzweil
     Music Systems, Inc.
     Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, Hofstra Univ.
1987 Honorary Doctorate of Music, Berklee College of Music
1988 Honorary Doctorate of Science, Rensselaer Polytechnic Inst.
     Honorary Doctorate of Science, Northeastern University


     BA (?)
     Ph.D. Harvard Univ., dept? Thesis?
     Interleaf Corp., Cambridge, MA


1978 BS in Computer Science, Mass. Inst. of Tech., Cambridge, MA

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Mr. Randy Stern, Vice President
Kurzweil Computer Products, Inc.
185 Albany Street
Cambridge MA 02139
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