Ultra-low power voice processing and MEMS microphone circuitry enables sound detection and keyword recognition in a miniaturized single package.

STMicroelectronics, DSP Group Inc., and Sensory Inc. reveal details for a highly power-efficient, voice-detecting and -processing microphone that 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 eliminate the need for 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. Using the powerful computation capabilities from DSP Group, ST’s microphone detects and recognizes instructions without waking the main system, enabling 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 taps DSP Group’s HDClear ultra-low power audio processing chip to significantly reduce energy consumption, extending the lifetime of battery-operated equipment for several years without the need to recharge or replace battery. Responses to voice commands are also faster, because the system acts on the instruction immediately without first having to recognize it.

First prototypes of ST’s new command-recognition microphone will be available by the end of Q1 2017 with volume production in early 2018.

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