Blog posts tagged with smart microphones
With the explosive growth in IoT products, especially in smart homes, we've reached an inflection point in the way that we communicate with these embedded systems. We're all used to having "an app for that", but with tens or hundreds of smart devices predicted for the home and offices, that paradigm simply doesn't scale; we need to embrace a more "universal" interface – voice.
Dag Kittlaus, CEO of Viv Labs (viv.ai), has recently given some impressive demonstrations of his latest AI technologies, but one thing that always looks odd during the Viv demonstrations is that he holds the phone very close to his mouth. He’s almost eating his phone every time – it’s like something from Trigger Happy TV. Dag needs to make sure that the quality of captured speech is clear enough for the software to decipher the content of the commands, but it’s not a real-world scenario. We’re not all going to want to "eat" our phones in order to book an airfare for next week.
Voice user interfaces - you can scarcely avoid the current hype in the media as giants like Amazon, and Google jostle to exploit the explosion of possibilities that advancements in natural language technologies are providing. Today’s neural networks use algorithms to process language through ever-deeper layers of complexity. Machines can now understand the meaning and intent of spoken words with unprecedented levels of accuracy. This has sparked a revolution for the power of voice.
We love the Amazon Echo at XMOS. It’s a new-to-the-world category of product, brimming with possibilities as a digital assistant, a hub for home automation as well as a point of presence to allow us to access all of Amazon’s goods and services.
At its heart is a piece of technology known as a smart microphone. This enables the Echo to capture voice samples with a high degree of accuracy before transmitting them to the Amazon Voice Services in the cloud where the query is processed before the answer is returned to the device in the form of Alexa’s soothing tones contained in an MP3 file.
In a previous blog I discussed the new DSP capabilities of the xCORE-200 architecture at a very high level. I'd now like to look at some of those DSP capabilities in more detail.
XMOS xCORE-200 devices are built around a 32-bit fixed point architecture, which includes a 64-bit accumulator for enhanced dynamic range. This architecture was chosen because it gives flexibility to implement many different forms of fixed-point and integer arithmetic efficiently.