**Texas Instruments Little Professor**

Little Professor requesting the answer to the problem '4+2='.

**Texas Instruments Little Professor**

**Distinctive features:** The first calculator-based mathematical learning aid/game.

**Technical details:**Display is 8 digits, LED.

Teaching aid for the 4 mathematical functions.

Power supply is a 9v PP3 replaceable battery.

Integrated circuit is a Texas Instruments *TMS0975NL*, here date coded 1976, week 50.

Size 89 x 128 x 30 mm (3.5 x 5.0 x 1.2").

1976.

Made by Texas Instrument, this example in Italy.

The *Little Professor* uses electronic calculator technology to produce an elementary mathematics teaching aid in a game-like form.

It operates as follows:

- The achievement (difficulty) level is set from 1 to 4 by the switch on the righ-hand side.
- Which of the 4 functions is tested is determined by pressing the 'SET' key followed by any of the 'รท', 'X', '-', or '+', as required.
- The 'GO' key then triggers the
*Little Professor*to display the first calculation to be solved from thousands of pre-programmed calculations. - If the correct answer is entered then the
*Little Professor*moves on to display the next calculation to be solved. - If the answer is wrong then 'EEE' is displayed and up to two more attempts at the correct answer can be made.
- After ten problems the Little Professor flashes on the display the number of correct answers.
*"This lighted scoreboard gives math learning the fun found in a game."*

The box of the *Little Professor*.

The circuit board of the *Little Professor*.

At the top is the LED display with its magnifying lenses.

Below, in the middle, is the Texas Instruments *TMS0975NL*, here date coded 1976, week 50.

On the left is the power On/Off switch, and on the right is the difficulty-level switch.

At the bottom is the thin black plastic covering over the key contacts, which keeps the dirt out.

Side view showing the difficulty-level switch which is used on the first version of the *Little Professor*. From the next version this setting was made using extra keys on the keyboard.

The *Little Professor* has proved to be very successful and has been manufactured and marketed since 1976 to the present day. Over this time it has evolved over a number of versions; in the 1980s the LED display was replaced by LCD, and in the 1990s the *Little Professor* is powered by a solar cell.

Similar electronic mathematical learning aids were manufactured by other companies.

**Hand-held Calculators**

*Vintage Calculators *

© Text & photographs copyright Nigel Tout 2000-2021 except where noted otherwise.