The Symbolic Communicator (SYMCOM) is made-up of a hardware subsystem and a software subsystem integrated into a single system. The hardware subsystem is mainly a speech synthesizer circuitry interfaced to a microcomputer. It accepts binary sequences and produces audio signals in the form of human speech. The software subsystem provides a programming environment that can be used to create a lesson plan. The lessons are presented through text and graphic images with corresponding descriptions uttered through a low power speaker or through a public address system.
The speech card uses a phoneme-supported speech processor which offers unlimited vocabulary. The resulting speech is understandable and clear but sounds a little mechanical at times.
SYMCOM is intended to be a learning tool that can be utilized by instructors, specially for children and the handicapped, to make lessons much more interesting. With the simple but proper blending of graphics and sound, SYMCOM presents a new dimension in the field of computer-aided-instructions (CAl). Although limited in its features and capabilities, SYMCOM has definitely achieved its goal of producing a low-cost and efficient tool for special and preschool education.