Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
History of Texas Instruments
Texas Instruments was founded by Cecil H. Green, Erik Jonsson , Eugene McDermott and Henry Bates Peacock , three of whom would live to see their ninetieth birthdays. On December 6, 1941, the four men purchased Geophysical Service Incorporated (GSI), a pioneering provider of seismic exploration services to the petroleum industry. During World War II, GSI built electronics for the U.S. Army Signal Corps and the U.S. Navy. After the war, GSI continued to produce electronics, and in 1951 the company changed its name to Texas Instruments; GSI became a wholly-owned subsidiary of the new company. In 1954, TI designed the first transistor radio. Also in the 1950s, the integrated circuit was developed independently by Jack Kilby of TI and Robert Noyce of Fairchild Semiconductor. Kilby's patent for a "solid circuit" was filed in 1958. The 7400 series of transistor-transistor logic (TTL) chips, developed by TI in the 1960s, popularized the use of integrated circuits in computer logic, and is in widespread use to this day. TI also invented the hand-held calculator in 1967, the single-chip microcomputer in 1971 and was assigned the first patent on a single-chip microprocessor (invented by Gary Boone ) in 1973. (Note: TI is usually given credit with Intel for the almost-simultaneous invention of the microprocessor.)
TI also continued to manufacture equipment for use in the seismic industry, and GSI continued to provide seismic services. After selling (and repurchasing) GSI, TI finally sold the company to Halliburton in 1988, at which point GSI ceased to exist as a separate entity.
TI continued to be active in the consumer electronics market through the 1970s and 1980s. In 1978, Texas Instruments introduced the first single chip speech synthesizer and incorporated it in a product called the Speak & Spell, which was later immortalized in the movie E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Several spinoffs, such as the Speak & Read and Speak & Math, were introduced soon thereafter. In June 1979, they entered into the home computer market with the TI99/4, a competitor to such computers as the TRS-80 and the later Commodore VIC-20 and Commodore 64.
Today, TI is a major manufacturer of transistors, integrated circuits, and MEMS devices, particularly the digital signal processors that power cellular telephones and media players. Texas Instruments is also notable for its calculator range, the TI-30 being one of the most popular early calculators. TI has also developed a line of graphing calculators, the first being the TI-81, and most popular being the TI-83+. TI is often seen as the competitor to Hewlett Packard in this regard, with fierce loyalties often arising.
TI is the sole source for Digital Light Processing (DLP) micro mirror components, a technology used in video projectors.
TI Calculator Community
In the late '90s, with the advent of TI's graphing calculator series, programming became popular among some students. The TI-8x series of calculators (beginning with the TI-81) came with a built-in BASIC interpreter, through which simple programs could be created. The TI-85 was the first TI calculator to allow assembly programming (via a shell called "ZShell"), and the TI-83 was the first in the series to achieve native assembly. While the earlier BASIC programs were relatively simple applications or small games, the modern assembly-based programs rival what one might find on a Game Boy or PDA.
Around the same time that these programs were first being written, personal webpages (example) were becoming popular (through services such as Angelfire and Geocities), and programmers began creating websites to host their work, along with tutorials and other calculator-relevant information. This led to "web rings", groups of calculator-related websites that linked to each other, and eventually a few large communities, including the (now defunct) TI-Files, and (the still relevant) ticalc.org. Ticalc.org is now the authoritative source for programming for TI-calculators, and at the site, one can find thousands of applications (including games, educational programs, and even simple operating environments), programming tutorials, calculator news, and discussion forums, among other things.
TI Graphing Calculators fall into two distinct groups. The "z80" and the "68k" each named for the processor that powers them. Although the z80 was in the original Game Boy, the Motorola 68000 (or 68k for short) is far more powerful, and therefore the better suited processor intensive applications, such as gaming. The 68k calculators, which include the TI-92, TI-92+, TI-89, TI-V200, and most recently the TI-89Ti (or titanium), are generally thought of more highly among TI community members than the z80s. However, the newest of the z80s, the TI-84+ and TI-84+SE, are becoming very popular with students new to the product line.
Texas Instruments was named one of the 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers in 2004 by Working Mothers magazine.
- Texas Instruments main web site
- Texas Instruments calculator website
- TI Key Innovations
- www.datamath.org has a lot of information on ancient TI pocket calculators
- The most extensive TI calculator program/information archive
- TI is "in the forefront of a coalition of companies"
- Silicon Valley InfoZone - Texas Instruments
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