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Posts Tagged ‘smart speaker’
Orange Pi Development Boards

Espressif ESP32 LyraTD MS1 HDK is Designed for Smart Speakers, Wireless Audio and other Smart Home Appliances

January 16th, 2018 7 comments

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.

Click to Enlarge

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
    • Earphone jack
    • Dual speaker output ports
    • 4x microphone array with up to 3 meter sensitivity while playing music
  • Expansion
    • I2C/SPI header
    • 6-pin UART header
    • I2S header
    • Others undocumented
  • Debugging – USB-UART micro USB interface (based on CP2102N), and JTAG header
  • Misc – Power switch, 8x keys on top
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port

The kit can work over WiFi or Bluetooth, supports major cloud voice vendors such as Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Baidu DuerOS. Soft decoder, and hot word recognition runs directly on ESP32 processor.

In twitter, the company also said you could implement your own hotword/keyword, by providing around 5000 unique recordings of your selected word, and that they expect to ship the board next week. It’s unclear when the board will be available for sale however.

One of the commenter mentioned he made his own ESP32 Circle evaluation kit with an audio jack, and a single microphone. If you are interested in that third party board, you can purchase it on Taobao for 169 RMB (~$26). The official Espressif Audio Mic HDK should sell for a bit higher due to the extra features.

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

January 11th, 2018 9 comments

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.

RDA5981A Block Diagram

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 up to 150 Mbps with 20/40 MHz bandwidth
      • WPA, WPA2, WEP, TKIP,CCMP security
      • STA, softAP, P2P, STA+softAp, STA+P2P modes
      • A-MPDU, A-MSDU, HT-BA
    • TCP/IP stack with SSL (TLS?)
  • Host Interfaces – SPI / UART (AT command set) / USB2.0
  • Peripherals – GPIO, 2x UART, 2x I2S, 1x I2C, 8x PWM, 4x SPI, 1x SDMMC, 1x USB2, 2x ADC
  • Security – Hardware crypto accelerator AES/RSA, true random number generator (TRNG), and CRC accelerator
  • Misc – Watchdog, 16×16 bits eFuse configuration
  • Package – 5×5mm2 QFN package, 0.4mm pitch QFN-40

The company provides support for FreeRTOS and mbedOS5.1 for the chip. You could get a very basic datasheet from the company’s product page, but if you don’t want to leave your contact details, there’s even more information on Electrodragon Wiki.

The features looks interesting and could become a competitor to Realtek RTL8710AF or even Espressif ESP8266, especially Electrodragon sells their RDA5981X1 WiFi module based on RDA5981A for just $1.92 plus shipping.

Specifications for the module:

  • SoC – RDA5981A with 8Mbit internal flash, 288+160 KB RAM
  • 24 castellated pin exposing
    • Up to 16 free GPIOs
    • 2x UART up to 4Mbit, 3x ADC, 1x USB, 1x I2C, I2S in, I2S out, 1x SPI, up to 4x PWM, etc… (Pins are multiplex with up to 6 different function per pin)
    • VCC (3.0 to 3.5V), GND
    • Reset
  • Dimensions – 17.60 x 15.50 mm

The module also comes with a red breakout board (with 2.54mm pitch) included in the price. The company says RDA5981A IC itself sells for around $1 with price obviously depending on quantity.They also mention the SoC still have bugs without expanding. The board can be programming with AT commands or using mBed as explained in the Wiki linked above.

RDA5981A “Arduino” Development Board

There’s also an RDA5981 board with Arduino header, which I could only find on Taobao for under $50. Somebody also setup a new Github account with more information, and beside the RDA5981A/B/C models listed in the datasheet,  there seems to be an RDA5981AM chip as well. All RDA5981 variants are shown to be suitable for smart home, but RDA5981C can also be used for smart speakers and WiFi toys, maybe because it comes with 32 Mbit SPI flash? We’ll have to see how things evolve, and whether the solution will gain traction.

Via Olimex

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

January 11th, 2018 2 comments

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 a circular array
    • Texas Instruments PCA9557PWR IO expander
  • Speaker board
    • Texas Instruments TAS5707PHPR 20-W Open-Loop Stereo Digital Input Class-D Audio Amplifier with Speaker EQ and DRC
    • Power Supply – 12V DC barrel jack

The solution is said to run “high-performance DSP algorithms for acoustic echo cancellation, beamforming, and noise reduction”.

 

Beside the three boards of the kit (main, speaker, and microphone), you’ll also get a power supply, a serial debug adapter, and a pair of generic speakers. You’ll find more documentation, a getting started guide (with a Linux 4.9 buildroot based distribution), and a purchase link for the $250 kit on a dedicated Amazon Developer page. The kit is currently demonstrated at the Amlogic suite in the Venetian (Suite #34311) during CES 2018.

We’ll also find the kit in company of the aforementioned $129 Allwinner Amazon AVS kit, a new $1,250 “Qualcomm Smart Audio 6-Mic Development Kit for Amazon AVS”, and as well as the $299 hands-free “Synaptics AudioSmart 2-Mic Dev Kit for Amazon AVS” on the System Dev Kits section of Amazon AVS Development Kits page.

 

Amlogic Far-field Kit Accessories – Click to Enlarge

 

Thanks to Theguyuk for the tip

Develop NXP i.MX 8M Voice Controlled Smart Devices with MCIMX8M-EVK Evaluation Kit

January 11th, 2018 8 comments

We first heard about NXP i.MX 8M processsors in October 2016, and at the end of last year, WandPi 8M development board was unveiled with shipping scheduled for Q2 2018 once the processor will start manufacturing. Other exciting i.MX 8M projects include Purism Librem 5 smartphone, MNT Reform DIY modular computer, and I’m sure there will be others development board & products, and plenty of system-on-modules introduced with the processor in 2018.

NXP i.MX 8M processor also got in the news at CES 2018, because it will be one of the hardware platforms certified for Android Things, and NXP also issued a press release to announced the processor’s multimedia capability with be used in voice controlled devices with or without video.

NXP i.MX 8M Block Diagram

The PR refers to Gartner Research saying that “voice commands will dominate 50 percent of all searches in the next two years”, and explains that with thinner and thinner TV, sound bars and smart speaker swill become more popular and integrate features such as voice control, home automation, … which can be served by iMX 8M family of applications processors. The company also expects the processors to be found in lighting, thermostats, door locks, home security, smart sprinklers, other smart home systems and devices. One of the main purpose of that press release was to say “come to see demos at our CES 2018 booth” including:

  • i.MX 8M hardware that will be driving voice, video, and audio all at the same time, while also displaying 4K HDR, dual screen and immersive audio capabilities.
  • Android Things demos of drawing robots (drawbots) that use on-device processing power to sketch attendee selfies in real-time, and Manny, a Things-powered robotic hand (handbot) that uses TensorFlow plus computer vision to mirror hand gestures and play games.
  • An Alexa solution with leading features such as display support, multi-room audio and integrated talk-to-call.

NXP i.MX 8M Evaluation Kit

Click to Enlarge

Since the processor is still new, many of those demos will be implemented with the company’s MCIMX8M-EVK evaluation kits with the following features:

  • Processor – NXP i.MX 8M Quad (MIMX8MQ6DVAJZAA) quad core Cortex A53 applications processor, 1x Cortex-M4F real-time core, Vivante GC7000L GPU
  • System Memory – 3 GB LPDDR4
  • Storage – 16GB eMMC 5.0 flash, 32MB SPI NOR flash, micro SD card connector
  • Display interface – HDMI 2.0a Connector, DSI interface via Mini-SAS connector
  • Audio connectors – 3.5 mm stereo headphone output
  • Camera – CSI interface via Mini-SAS connectors
  • Connectivity
    • Gigabit Ethernet via RJ45 connector
    • 1x on-board 802.11ac WiFi/Bluetooth 4.2 module
    • 1x M.2 slot (KEY-E type)
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0/3.0 type C connector, 1x USB 2.0/3.0 host connector
  • Expansion Port – FPC connector (SAI ports)
  • Debug connectors – JTAG (10-PIN header), MicroUSB for UART debug
  • Misc – ONOFF & RESET buttons; Power status & UART LEDs
  • Power – NXP PMIC PF4210 + Discrete DCDC/LDO
  • Dimensions – 10 x 10 cm; 10-layer PCB

MCIMX8M-EVK Block Diagram – Click to Enlarge

The board ships with USB cable, a 12V/5.0A! power supply, and a quick start guide. If you plan to use audio input, you may need to add an Audio card via the SAI/I2C expansion port The company has also released a whole bunch of documents, hardware design files, SDKs, BSPs, MQX RTOS, and software tools right before CES 2018, which you can find on the evaluation kit and processor pages. The evaluation kit is sold for $449.00.

Android Things is Finally Getting into Products: Smart Speakers, Smart Displays, and More

January 9th, 2018 3 comments

Android Things was first introduced as Brillo in October 2015, before being renamed to Android Things the following year when a developer preview was released with support for Raspberry Pi 3, as well as Intel and NXP development boards.

But if you can’t remember the last time you’ve purchased a device running Android Things that’s normal, because so far, there was none. Google announced this is going to change as the first set of Android Things products have been announced at CES 2018.

iHome iGV1 (Left) and LG ThinQ WK7 (Right)

The first category of devices to run Android Things will be Google Assistant enabled smart speakers with the launch of products such as iHome iGV1 and LG ThinQ WK7.  ODM partners have also created full speaker reference designs based on certified Android Things and Cast System-on-Modules (SoMs) powered by Rockchip RK3229, Mediatek MT8516, or based on Qualcomm SD212 Home Hub Platform. NXP i.MX 8M solutions are also expected later this year.

Android Things will also find its way into smart displays – also supporting Google Assistant – later this year in products from JBL, Lenovo and LCD based on Qualcomm Snapdragon 624 Home Hub Platform, as well as Sony, which instead will rely on a Mediatek MT8173 system-on-module.

LG Smart Display Rendering

Beside smart speakers and displays, Android Things is now used in prototypes based on NXP processor, and we should soon find Android Things powered 3D printers, robots, and other machines.