Blog: Page 3
A massive change is coming in the way that we engage with the electronics that surround us at home, at work and in the built environment. We will be liberated from computer keyboards, touch screens and apps that keep us glued to our smartphones and laptops. Instead, there will be billions of voice-aware products that we will use to talk to get information and entertainment, and manage our everyday tasks.
How voice user interfaces and natural language programming will change the way we interface with the world around us
Microphones capture analog signals and thanks to digitization, have ridden the back of Moore’s Law to get ever smaller and cheaper to the point where the ability to capture decent sound in a tiny device has improved dramatically. This has taken audio capture out of the sound booth and recording studios and democratized it. Thanks to their ubiquity in handsets, laptops, headsets and media tablets, nearly 5 billion MEMS microphones are expected to be shipped in 2016 alone, at an average price point that will deliver four or five of them for less than a Euro or dollar.
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.