DSP Group unveils ultra-low-power microphone development kit for Amazon AVS

By Gina Roos, editor-in-chief

DSP Group,
has launched its HDClear 3-Mic
Development Kit for Amazon Alexa Voice Service (AVS)
. At the heart of the kit is DSP Group’s DBMD5 advanced
audio/voice processor (SoC) and HDClear voice enhancement processing
technology. The company claims that the development kit is the lowest-power
solution for developers who want to build high-accuracy Alexa-enabled devices,
including smart speakers, wearable computing devices, smart home devices, and
remote controls.

The three
main kit components include a printed circuit board (PCB) with the DBMD5 audio
processor, Raspberry Pi, and a three-microphone array. It also provides pre-process
noise-reduction, beamforming, and Acoustic Echo Canceling (AEC) algorithms for
enhanced voice accuracy.


Touted as being simple to operate — just connect it to a speaker
and plug it into power — the kit is designed to reduce time-to-market and speed
up development efforts.

DSP Group’s
list of key benefits of the development kit include:

  • Voice
    enhancement capabilities
    — Sophisticated voice algorithms
    including acoustic echo cancellation, noise reduction, beamforming, and
    far-field enhancement for greater voice command accuracy.
  • Barge-in — Enables detection of voice commands when audio, including music, is
    played by the device.
  • Seamless
    operation with Amazon AVS
    — Supports Amazon Alexa wake word and fully
    integrates with AVS SDK.
  • Advanced audio SoC — Embedded programmable dual-core DSP supports digital and analog
    microphones and incorporates various application processor interfaces such as
    SPI, I2C, UART, and SLIMbus.
  • Low power consumption — Power-optimized
    implementation for always-on IoT devices allows application processors to
    remain in sleep mode during voice sensing and enables battery-powered devices
    to access Alexa.  Power consumption well
    below 1 mA for Alexa wake-word detection is supported.
  • Far-field enhancement — Use of three mics enables up to 360°
    voice coverage.
  • Local detection of Alexa — Enables low-power
    detection and integration in IoT devices with small amounts of memory for
    wake-word detection.
  • Fast time-to-market
    Provides a complete suite of host processor/communications processor/MCU
    software drivers.
  • Scalable
    Software configuration supports several types of devices including smart
    speakers, digital assistants, wearable computing devices, smart home devices,
    remote controls, and IoT devices.

A product brief and user guide
with step-by-step instructions are available at the company’s website.