ReSpeaker 4-mic array is a Raspberry Pi HAT with four microphones that can work with services such as Google Assistant or Amazon Echo. It was launched in 2017. So nothing new on the hardware front. What’s new is the expansion board is now supported by Picovoice that works much like other voice assistants except it allows people to create custom wake words and offline voice recognition. Picovoice is described as an end-to-end platform for building customized voice products with processing running entirely on-device. It is cross-platform, is said to be more resilient to noise and reverberation, and thanks to running offline, it offers low-latency and complies with HIPAA and GDPR privacy regulations. The platform is comprised of two main engines: Porcupine lightweight wake word engine that supports custom wake words trained through PicoVoice console. The engine can listen to multiple wake words and is cross-platform with support for Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone, Android, iOS, Linux (x86_64), macOS (x86_64), Windows (x86_64) Rhino […]
X-Powers is a subsidiary of Allwinner, better known for its PMIC chips for Allwinner Cortex-A processors., but we also discovered X-Powers AC108 quad-channel ADC chip for microphone arrays in 2017. Soon after, Seeed Studio launched ReSpeaker 4-Mic Array for Raspberry Pi, but I had completely forgotten about the audio chip since then. That’s until this morning when I came across RPI_AC108 audio board also coming with four microphones and several LEDs. RPI_AC108 specifications: Audio X-Powers AC108 quad-channel ADC with I2S/TDM output transition 4x MEMS microphones Expansion 2x Grove interfaces (1x I2C, 1x GPIO port using pins 12 & 13) 40-pin Raspberry Pi compatible header working with Raspberry Pi Zero / Zero W / 2B / 3B / 3B + / 4 and other compatible development boards Misc – 12x LEDs (APA102) connected over SPI, GPIO5 enables power Dimensions – 65mm x 65mm x 9mm The board gets its power (3.3V and 5V) from the 40-pin header, and communicate with Broadcom BCM2xxx processor using I2C […]
We previously wrote about the possibility of using Sony PS3 Eye camera as an inexpensive 4-mic array as at the time (August 2019) it sold for $7.5, and can still be found for $13 on Amazon. But I’ve come across a potential even lower-cost option with a tiny stereo microphone that connected to the 3.5mm audio jack on your phone or computer and sells for a couple of dollars ($2-$5) on sites like Aliexpress ($2.15) or GearBest. There’s not much in the way of specifications: Uni-directional stereo condenser microphone Left and right channel stereo recording Gold plug for maximum conductivity and minimum noise Sensitivity – 38 ± 3dB Frequency Response – 100-15,000Hz Plug – L-shap gold-plat mini plug, 3.5mm Dimensions – 5.7 x 5.5 cm If you click on the GearBest link, you’ll find there’s both a “mobile phone ” version and a “PC” version. I supposed it was because of different connectors, but I was not sure and found […]
Last September, Espressif Systems unveiled ESP-Skainet voice assistant optimized for ESP8266 and ESP32 wireless SoC with support for WakeNet wake word engine and MultiNet speech commands recognition with the former requiring just 20KB RAM for one word, and the latter supporting up to 100 offline commands as long as you had 4MP SPI flash or more. At the time, it only supported the Chinese language and worked on the upcoming “LyraT-Mini audio board“, now available for $26.99 shipped but only including one microphone. Espressif Systems has now announced a better AI development board with ESP32-Korvo AI development board includes featuring a mainboard with ESP32 processor and an audio ADC, and a subboard equipped with a 3-mic array, RGB LEDs, and various buttons. ESP32-Korvo specifications: Mainboard Wireless module – ESP32-WROVER-B with ESP32 dual-core Wi-Fi / BT processor, 128 Mbit SPI flash, and 64 Mbit PSRAM Storage – MicroSD card slot Audio ES8311 I2S audio codec Four-channel ADC with three channels for […]
Rockchip RK1808 neural network processing unit was initially an IP Block inside RK3399Pro, but the company eventually launched RK1808 Cortex-A35 processor as a standalone solution now providing up to 3.0 TOPS for AI inferencing in modules, USB sticks, and development kits. Boardcon offers another option with EM1808, a Rockchip RK1808 SBC equipped with the processor. The board should be suitable for two main types of AI applications, namely smart audio applications thanks to four audio ports, speaker header, & an onboard 4-mic array, and computer vision with MIPI CSI & DSI interfaces. Boardcon EM1808 board is comprised of a baseboard and CPU module with the following overall specifications: SoC – Rockchip RK1808 dual Cortex-A35 processor up to 1.6GHz with 3.0 TOPS (for INT8) NPU, VPU supporting H.264 1080p60 decode, 1080p30 encode System Memory- 2GB LPDDR3 Storage – 8GB eMMC flash, MicroSD slot, M.2 NVMe SSD interface Display I/F – 26-pin MIPI DSI header Camera I/F – 26-pin MIPI CSI header […]
Allwinner R328 is a dual-core Cortex-A7 processor with 64MB or 128MB built-in RAM designed for low-cost smart speakers that was introduced last year and found into smart speaker sold in mainland China. According to a recent press release (in Chinese only), the company has now released a 64-bit update with Allwinner R329 dual-core Cortex-A53 processor equipped with dual HIFI4 DSP for audio post-processing and pre-processing, as well as Arm China’s AIPU (Artificial Intelligence Processing Unit) delivering up to 0.256 TOPS at very low power. There’s no product page for Allwinner R329 yet, so I extracted some specifications from the press release: CPU – Dual-core Cortex-A53 @ up to 1.5 GHz DSP- Dual-core HIFI4 DSP @ 400 MHz AI Accelerator – Arm China AIPU with 0.256 TOPS Built-in DDR RAM Audio Embedded second-generation VAD hardware 5x audio ADCs 2x audio DACs with 100dB SNR I2S and DMIC controller 5-1-channel and 7.1 channel support Integrated dual LDO The company will also provide […]
Based in California in the US, Thundercomm Technology Co., Ltd. (aka Thundercomm) is a provider of IoT products & technologies for OEM/ODMs, enterprises and developers. The company introduced several Qualcomm based “TurboX Systems-on-Module” for smart speakers, LPWAN IoT devices with NB-IoT and LTE Cat M1 connectivity, smart retail applications, and 5G powered devices. TurboX C404 and C405 SOMs for Smart Speakers and Soundbars Key features and specifications: SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon C404 / C405 with CPU – Quad-core Arm Cortex-A53 @, 1.4 GHz GPU (C405 Only) – Qualcomm Adreno 306 GPU @ 600 MHz DSP -2x Hexagon QDSP6 v66 – Low Power Audio Subsystem & Audio Compute DSP System Memory & Storage – 1GB LPDDR3 + 8GB eMMC flash in eMCP package; SD card signals Connectivity 2×2 MIMO WiFI 5 802.11 a/b/g/ac + Bluetooth 5.0 + FM via WCN3999 Gigabit Ethernet (RGMII) Display Interfaces (C405 Only) 4-lane MIPI DSI port up to 720p HDMI up to 1080p30 Audio – SLIMBus, […]
Smart speakers normally work by constantly listening to a wake-word, that is processed locally, before listening to your more complex command, and send the audio to the cloud for processing. That means most of the time no data is sent to the cloud, as continuously processing audio in the cloud would not be resource-efficient. However, in isolated cases, the company may want to listen to audio samples to improve their product(s) and it’s possible since the hardware is perfectly capable of doing this. Alternatively, hackers could always access your smart speaker. So if you worry about your privacy, while still wanting the convenience of using a smart speaker, a third-party solution controlling the microphone should protect your privacy. Pleasant Solutions “Paranoid” aims to provide such privacy solution by taking control of the microphone on your smart speaker. Due to the various smart speaker designs and features in the market, three options are provided using “Paranoid” wake word: Home Button (Pictured […]
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