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Texas Instruments


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Getting Started

A small team of engineers at Texas Instruments were working on an invention that was soon to transform the way people around the world would live, learn, work, and play. The finishing touches were being placed on TI's newest brainchild, the electronic handheld calculator. Originally conceived as a product that would create demand worldwide for the microchip (invented nine years earlier by TI), the handheld electronic calculator was to become a powerful agent for change in the board room, the lab room, and the classroom.


Just how much did the handheld calculator change our lives? Before the advent of TI's electronic handheld calculator, calculators cost as much as a car, were as big as a typewriter, and were dependent on electricity. By inventing this innovative device, TI brought more than an affordable convenient office product to the general public, it helped revolutionize the classroom.

"Calculators have become extremely valuable educational tools in today's math and science classrooms," said Richard Schaar, president, Educational & Productivity Solutions, Texas Instruments. "The current generation of calculators has capabilities never before available in a handheld device. The TI-92 has the computational power of a desktop math computer, yet it's smaller than a textbook. And our TI-83 can graph complex equations within seconds. Students then trace the graph to see the corresponding coordinates and equations."

What else has changed about TI calculators? The way they're designed.

"The design process for our instructional calculators has evolved," said Schaar. "Instead of our designing a calculator based on what we think educators would like to use, we involve the educators in the design process at the beginning. They're the experts on what works best in their classrooms, so we listen to their comments and try to provide them with calculators and other learning tools that meet their needs."

After thirty years and well over 100 million calculators, TI continues its leadership position with calculators, now with models that meet targeted needs including educational, financial, real estate, handheld, and printing.

"We're pleased with the progress we've made," said Schaar. "Calculators are now a staple in America's classrooms, homes, and offices, and they help enhance learning and make individuals more productive. It's a good start, but we're looking down the road at where we need to go next. There's always room for improvement."


Go Back Last Updated on 15 January, 2006 For suggestions  please mail the editors 


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