STMicroelectronics, a global semiconductor leader, and a top MEMS supplier, alongside DSP Group Inc., a leading global provider of wireless chipset solutions for converged communications, and Sensory Inc., the leader in voice interface and keyword-detect algorithms, has revealed details for a voice-detecting and -processing microphone. It’s highly power-efficient and delivers keyword-recognition capabilities in a compact package.
The small System-in-Package (SiP) device integrates a low-power ST MEMS microphone enabled by DSP Group’s ultra-low power voice-processing chip and Sensory’s voice-recognition firmware. The solution leverages ST’s advanced packaging technology to achieve a powerful yet lightweight package, extremely long battery runtimes, and advanced functionality.
Although typical wake-on-sound microphones don’t require the users to touch the device to wake it from sleep mode, they suffer from limited processing power and wake the main system processor to recognize the received instruction. In order to counter this issue, ST’s microphone uses the powerful computation capabilities from DSP Group so as to detect and recognize instructions without waking the main system. This enables energy-efficient, intuitive, and seamless interactions for users speaking to voice-operated appliances like smart speakers, TV remotes, and smart home systems.
The new microphone solution also taps DSP Group’s HDClear ultra-low power audio processing chip to significantly reduce energy consumption, thereby extending the lifetime of battery-operated equipment for several years without the need to recharge or replace the battery. Besides, responses to voice commands are also faster, because the system acts on the instruction immediately without first having to recognize it.
“Unlike previous existing solutions, this microphone doesn’t just listen to voices – it immediately understands the commands, too, without using the power and computation resources of the main processor,” commented Andrea Onetti, MEMS and Sensors Division General Manager, STMicroelectronics. “This smart integration step is a key enabler for the voice interfaces that are being added to IoT objects and applications, including those contributing to Industry 4.0.”
“As voice becomes the default user interface, more and more innovative products embrace smart voice-processing technology. Our solution combines a small footprint, high integration, and the low-power consumption needed to enable seamless and effective voice user interfaces in battery-operated devices,” said Ofer Elyakim, CEO of DSP Group. “Collaboration with industry leaders ST and Sensory on this smart microphone brings to market a powerful yet energy-efficient solution with best-in-class performance, which makes it a perfect match for any smart system that needs to incorporate high-quality voice capabilities.”
Todd Mozer, CEO of Sensory, added, “Voice activation has the potential to transform the way people interact with all kinds of electronic equipment in the home, while on the go, or at work. ST’s new highly integrated solution, leveraging our latest-generation firmware, is an important enabler for OEMs seeking to deliver a natural and fluid user experience.”
First prototypes of ST’s new command-recognition microphone will be available by the end of Q1 2017 with volume production in early 2018.
ST is a global semiconductor leader delivering intelligent and energy-efficient products and solutions that power the electronics at the heart of everyday life. ST’s products are found everywhere today, and together with our customers, we are enabling smarter driving and smarter factories, cities, and homes, along with the next generation of mobile and Internet of Things devices.
About DSP Group
DSP Group Inc. is a leading global provider of wireless chipset solutions for converged communications. Delivering semiconductor system solutions with software and hardware reference designs, DSP Group enables OEMs/ODMs, consumer electronics (CE) manufacturers, and service providers to cost-effectively develop new revenue-generating products with fast time to market.
At the forefront of semiconductor innovation and operational excellence for over two decades, DSP Group provides a broad portfolio of wireless chipsets integrating DECT/CAT-iq, ULE, Wi-Fi, PSTN, HDClear(TM), video and VoIP technologies. The Group enables converged voice, audio, video and data connectivity across diverse mobile, consumer and enterprise products – from mobile devices, connected multimedia screens, and home automation & security to cordless phones, VoIP systems, and home gateways.
About Sensory Inc.
Sensory Inc. creates a safer and superior UX through vision and voice technologies. Sensory’s technologies are widely deployed in consumer electronics applications including mobile phones, automotive, wearables, toys, IoT, and various home electronics. With its TrulyHandsfree(TM) voice control, Sensory has set the standard for mobile handset platforms’ ultra-low power “always listening” touchless control.
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