ReSpeaker Core v2 is a 6-Mic Array Audio Development Kit Powered by Rockchip RK3229 Processor

Seeed Studio launched ReSpeaker Core board designed for voice interaction in 2016. The board was based on a Mediatek MT7688 MIPS WiSoC running OpenWrt, and came with a single built-in microphone, although a microphone array board with 7 microphones and 12 LEDs was also offered as option. The company is now back with a more powerful update of the board – called ReSpeaker Core v2 – featuring Rockchip RK3229 quad core Cortex A7 processor, running Debian Linux, and with 6 on-board microphones. Beside WiFi connectivity, the board also adds Ethernet and Bluetooth 4.0, as well as a USB hot port compared to the previous version. ReSpeaker Core v2 specifications: SoC – Rockchip RK3229 quad core Cortex A7 processor @ up to 1.5 GHz with Arm Mali-400MP2 GPU System Memory – 1GB DDR3 RAM Storage – 4GB eMMC flash, micro SD card slot Video Output – HDMI 2.0 (but drivers not […]

Rockchip Unveils RK3308 & Gemini Cortex-A35 Processors for Smart Speakers

Rockchip has posted a tweet about smart speakers, specifically about Midea AI speaker based on Rockchip RK3229, but the second image is what caught my eyes, as it reveals two new Arm Cortex A35 processor designed for “Smart AI solutions”, namely RK3308 and “Gemini” Processor. Rockchip RK3308 “mainstream” processor specifications: CPU – Quad core Cortex A35 processor GPU – TBD (maybe none?) Audio Integrated 8-ch ADC and hardware VAD (Voice Activity Detection) module Multi-channel PDM/I2S/TDM audio interface Rockchip Gemini “high-end” processor specifications: CPU – Quad core Cortex A35 processor GPU – Mali Dvalin MP2 GPU Audio – “high-end smart audio solution”; multi-channel PDM/I2S/TDM audio interface Video I/O – LCD screen & camera support Rockchip will provide support for Android Thing and Linux for the processors, as well as integration with MIC arrays boards and popular voice services such as Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant,  Baidu DuerOS, and others. Arm Cortex A35 […]

A First Look at ESP32-LyraTD-MSC Audio Mic HDK with Baidu DuerOS Assistant

Earlier this year, Espressif Systems had unveiled their ESP32-LyraTD-MSC Audio MiC HDK (Hardware Development Kit) which features an ESP32-WROOM module, a 4-mic array DSP, 3 microphones, an audio jack, and various I/Os. I received the board a couple of weeks ago, and while there’s no public information released yet, the company provided me with ESP32-LyraTD-MSC User Guide in English. Eventually, I’d expect Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa to be supported, but in the meantime I had to leverage my (lowly) Chinese language skills to get started since the kit is pre-loaded with firmware connecting to Baidu DuerOS voice assistant. ESP32-LyraTD-MSC Unboxing The kit came in a bland Espressif Systems carton box. Inside the package, I could only find one kit comprised of two boards. The bottom board read ESP32_MicrosemiDSP_Mainboard-V1, and does not show much apart from marking for connectors, headers and the power switch. While the top comes with eight […]

MicroSemi ZL38063 Audio Processor is Designed for Microphone Arrays

I’ve already been experimenting with DIY smart speakers and corresponding services for example using ReSpeaker board with Microsoft Bing Speech API, or Orange Pi Zero with Google Assistant SDK. But so far all the hardware platforms I used only came with one microphone, no microphone array that help with wake word detection in noisy environments. Last week-end, I received Espressif Audio Mic HDK, an ESP32 board with a 3-microphone array which I’ll review a in a few weeks once documentation becomes available and I clear some other items in my review list. In the meantime, I checked out the hardware, and found out the mainboard also comes with Microsemi ZL38063 audio processor specifically designed for microphone array. The chip was released las year, and can be already found in the company’s AcuEdge Development Kit for Amazon AVS, but since I’m going to use a board based on ZL38063 I’d thought […]

Mycroft Mark II Smart Speaker / Voice Assistant Works with Open Source Software (Crowdfunding)

Smart speakers have gain a lot of traction over the last few years, but many of the solutions are based on Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa voice services, with both companies likely tracking your voice searches the same way they track your online searches to provide a “personalized experience” and sell you products or server ads that match your interests. If you don’t like being tracked that way, a solution is to use an open source voice assistant such as Mycroft, and install it on a Linux computer, Raspberry Pi 3 board, or Android device. The company also introduced Mark I reference hardware platform based on Raspberry Pi 2 in 2015, and while all those hardware options should be fine for the technically inclined, but not really suited to the typical end user, and AFAIK they all lack a microphone array for better hot word detection. So Mycroft has come […]

Espressif ESP32 LyraTD MSC HDK is Designed for Smart Speakers, Wireless Audio and other Smart Home Appliances

[Update February 17, 2018:  The kit was previously referred as ESP32 LyRaTD MS1, but the company appears to have changed the name to ESP32-LyRaTD-MSC] So apparently voice command will represent 50% of all searches in the next two years, and everybody is jumping on the smart speaker bandwagon, with announcements from many companies at CES 2018, including Google’s Android Things + Assistant products‘ announcement,  NXP i.MX 8M official launch, Amazon Alexa Voice Service (AVS) development kit from Amlogic and Allwinner, and more. Espressif Systems is about to join the party with their ESP32 LyraTD MS1 HDK (Hardware development kit) that most people will likely remember as “Audio Mic HDK” that was announced on Twitter. Espressif Audio Mic HDK specifications: Wireless Module – ESP32-WROVER module with 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1 LE connectivity. DSP – 4-mic array chip Storage – micro SD card for audio files Audio Audio driver chip […]

$1 RDA5981 WiFi IoT Arm Cortex-M4 SoC is Designed for Smart Home Devices, Smart Speakers

RDA Microelectronics processors are found in a few cheap smart and not-so-smart phones, as well as the even cheaper Orange Pi i96 board. But the company does not only design cellular chips, but their portfolio also includes solutions for the Internet of Things and TV & radio tuners. RDA5981 is a WiFi IoT chip specifically designed for smart home & audio application, such as smart speakers, and it’s found in devices running Baidu DuerOS, the Chinese equivalent of Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. The company explains it can be widely used in televisions, set-top boxes, smart appliances, wireless monitors, and other products. RDA5981 A/B/C processor specifications: CPU – Arm Cortex-M4 @ up to 160 MHz with integrated MPU and mbed uvisor System Memory  – Up to 448 KB SRAM for network stack and application, external PSRAM interface Storage – Up to 32Mbit SPI flash Connectivity WiFi 2.4 Ghz 802.11b/g/n WiFi […]

Amlogic A113X1 6-Mic Far-Field Devkit is Designed for Amazon Alexa

Allwinner unveiled their SoC-Only 3-Mic Far-Field Development Kit for Amazon AVS last week, but they are now joined by another low cost silicon vendor as Amlogic has just launched their own A113X1 far-field dev kit officially support for Amazon Alexa Voice Service (AVS). The development kit is powered by Amlogic A113X SoC designed for such applications with “an audio pipeline that supports high fidelity audio with soft DSP algorithms for both frontend and backend processing”.   Amlogic A113X1 far-field devkit specifications: Mainboard SoC – Amlogic A113X quad core Cortex A53 processor System Memory – 512MB DDR3 Storage – 512 MB NAND flash Connectivity – SDIO WiFi/BT (AP6356S) Audio SPDIF_IN jack LINE_IN/LINE_OUT jacks 2x Audio headers (MIC_Connector & SPK_Connector) USB – 1x micro USB 2.0 OTG port Expansion – SPI header Misc – 6x ADC Keys, IR_IN/IR_OUT, UART Interface (RS232), LEDs Power Supply – 12V/2A Microphone board 6x digital microphones in […]