Development Kit for Amazon AVS Supports Far-field Voice Interaction with Multiple Microphone Array Options

January 10 2019, 02:30
Microchip Technology, via its Microsemi Corporation subsidiary, announced that its AcuEdge ZLK38AVS Development Kit for Amazon Alexa Voice Service (AVS) now introduces far-field voice pick up and the flexibility to build devices with multiple mic array configurations. The audio front-end solution with one, two and three mic configurations reduces bill of materials costs while addressing the requirements of small-form-factor designs.

From wearables to smart lighting, voice control is increasingly becoming consumers' preferred way to interact with electronics. As developers build products of various sizes and designs to meet consumer demand, they often have trouble scaling to meet different bill of materials (BOM) and form factor requirements in end applications. Microchip's AcuEdge ZLK38AVS Development Kit for Amazon Alexa Voice Service (AVS) answers both those needs.

As a leading audio front-end development kit with one-mic hands-free and two or three-mic far-field configurations qualified by Amazon, the solution features the ZL38063 audio processor which includes a 300 MHz DSP and dedicated hardware accelerators for voice processing. It also features Stereo Acoustic Echo Cancellation (AEC), which enables barge-in recognition to improve the consumer experience in extreme audio playback environments.

Designed for world-class voice front-end audio applications, Microsemi’s ZL38063 audio processor features the company’s AcuEdge technology. This innovative technology is a set of highly-complex and integrated algorithms that significantly improves automatic speech recognition (ASR) for both embedded and cloud-based ASR solutions. The ZL38063 delivers audio enhancements that perform noise reduction and smart automatic gain control (AGC), enabling speech recognition at distance in noisy, real-world conditions.

With the flexibility to work with a variety of microphone options and configurations, Original Design Manufacturers (ODMs) and third-party developers can use the development kit to cost effectively achieve their design criteria across a range of applications and form-factor constraints. Available in multiple microphone configurations, developers can explore one-mic configurations in hands-free voice coverage for products where form-factor or cost constraints preclude the use of a multi-microphone array; two and three-mic linear (180-degree) configurations, especially designed for sound bars, smart plugs and switches, set-top-boxes or other applications typically positioned against a wall that benefit from 180-degree far-field coverage; and three-mic triangular (360-degree) configurations. Also with far-field coverage qualified by Amazon, the three-mic configuration is well suited for applications that may require user interaction from any direction such as portable speakers, wide-angle IP cameras and voice-enabled Wi-Fi routers.

The development kit enables far-field speech recognition in the presence of interfering noise sources, including device playback and external noise sources. The field-programmable, field-upgradable solution features signal processing algorithms proven to improve both local trigger detection performance and cloud speech recognition accuracy, while the multi-microphone configurations include Direction of Arrival (DOA) estimation to indicate where the primary voice sound source is located.

"Voice-enabled devices have become immensely popular and continue to gain traction in a variety of end-applications, from home automation controllers to set-top boxes," says Steve Caldwell, vice president of Microchip's Wireless Solutions Group. "The ZLK38AVS Development Kit provides the flexibility required to scale the audio front end across products lines while enabling exceptional performance in adverse audio environments."

The development kit includes a ZL38063 audio processor that connects directly to a Raspberry Pi 3B with plastics and mounting hardware to simulate a typical, recommended end-application mic-speaker arrangement. It supports all microphone options and includes an LED ring to report the detected sound location, as well as a high-quality speaker that is representative of a typical smart speaker application. 

Microchip has audio labs and tuning facilities located worldwide to support customers from design through Amazon certification. The ZLK38AVS Development Kit for Amazon AVS is available now for $299.
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