Batteries Can Hear You Now

Audio Analytic, Vesper, and Ambiq Micro partner to demonstrate how battery-powered consumer electronics will soon benefit from the AI sense of hearing. The collaborators have proved that intelligent sound recognition can be added to a plethora of devices, including security cameras, motion sensors, headphones, wireless speakers, and smart locks without impacting battery life expectations


Combining each partners’ technology will allow manufacturers to embed the ability to recognize important domestic audio events with minimal impact on battery life. Example applications include the ability to detect and react to smoke alarms, CO alarms, and windows.


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Tests conducted by Audio Analytic used a combination of Vesper’s piezoelectric MEMS microphone and Ambiq Micro’s subthreshold, power-optimized technology (SPOTTM) processors. Using real-world audio data from Audio Analytic’s Alexandria dataset with the combination of CPU, microphone, and embedded AI software proved a device could run for up to five years on several battery configurations. 

Ambiq’s MCU - the Apollo2 Blue


Battery-powered devices already successfully launched in the market include portable smart home cameras, smart locks and stick-up motion sensors. Significantly, these devices can deliver up to one or two years before the batteries need to be replaced. As a result, any additional functionality can’t impact these figures. By upgrading their hardware, consumer tech brands could enhance functionality and value through sound recognition without impacting on battery performance. For example:

  • a stick-up battery powered security camera could combine the power of sight and sound and still last for two years on two lithium AA batteries
  • a smart lock, running on four standard AA batteries, could enhance its security and safety applications and still last for at least a year
  • a wall-mounted motion detector could hear the presence of suspicious activity even if it could not see it for at least two years on a tiny CR123 battery.  

One of Vesper’s piezoelectric microphones


Beyond the smart home market, battery-powered sound recognition opens opportunities for other applications, including headphones and large-scale IoT sensors. For example, a battery-powered sense of hearing enables headphone manufacturers, who are targeting around five hours of battery life, to add context-aware sound recognition, enabling wearers to get lost in their music but still stay in touch with the world around them.


For more details, visit Audio Analytic, Vesper, and Ambiq Micro.