Talking tape (also known as talkie tapes, talking strips) is a analog plastic groove medium that is used to store short snippets of sound. The device physically resembles zip ties: one side of a thin plastic strip has a series of ridges and the other side is flat. Sound is recreated by running a fingernail over the grooved side of the strip while one end is held against an amplifier such as a paper card, balloon, foam cup, or desk. The medium works on a similar principle to gramophone records, using grooves to store sound albeit in a linear manner opposed to a spiral. The tapes come pre-moulded and there is no easy way to record sound in the format without special machinery.
The storage capacity is determined by the length of the strip and speed at which the user pulls their fingernail over the grooves. Tapes are typically only long enough to store a short sentence, up to around 3 seconds long. However, there is no physical limitation on length: the tape could theoretically be wound onto a spool and played back like a wire recording. Sound reproduction quality is generally low and determined by the quality of the plastic used. Each strip can be played back many times until the grooves wear out.
Talking tape is currently utilized in low-cost novelty devices such as talking greeting cards and talking action figures.