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First Amazon-qualified development kit for wake-on-voice Alexa headsets

Knowles, a specialist in advanced micro-acoustic, audio processing, and precision device solutions, has developed a hands-free reference solution to enable OEMs and ODMs to build headphones, headsets and wireless earbuds that allow users to talk directly to Alexa.

The AISonic SmartMic Headset Development Kit for the Alexa Voice Service (AVS) brings users access to the service’s capabilities by simply saying the “Alexa” wake word, meaning that customers can play music, place calls, access skills, and more – hands-free.

The solution is fully compliant with the Alexa Mobile Accessory (AMA) protocol for Bluetooth accessories, and enables the industry’s lowest power which is necessary for wake-on-voice functionality in a small battery operated device.

This Development Kit includes the Knowles AISonic IA611 SmartMic, which integrates a low power audio edge processor inside a tiny microphone. All wake-word detection, identification of the voice wake word and local voice command processing is performed in the SmartMic and interfaces to the Bestechnic BES2000i Bluetooth System-on-Chip, which controls overall headset functionality and provides Bluetooth and BLE connectivity. Retune DSP VoiceSpot technology provides the voice trigger and commands in the SmartMic Development Kit platform.

Enabling speech recognition and voice control on a headset creates new challenges that smart speakers in a home do not experience. Acoustic background distractors such as car noise, restaurant and bar “babble” and street noise need to be minimised to enable effective voice recognition performance while on-the-go.

Knowles' AISonic solution is processed at the edge, designed to recognize the Alexa wake word and deliver speech requests for processing in these noisy, real-world environments without deteriorating the device’s battery life.

Bluetooth headsets built with the SmartMic Development Kit connect directly to the Alexa Voice Service (AVS) via the Alexa app for Android and iOS.

“Our voice-enabled AISonic SmartMic Headset Development Kit for Amazon AVS is redefining the Alexa user experience for ear-worn consumer products,” said Michael Maia, Product Line Vice President at Knowles. “This design provides the first turnkey wake-on-voice, AVS-qualified platform for Alexa-enabled headsets and hearables, enabling manufacturers and developers to quickly integrate Alexa into their smart headsets and eliminate inconvenient push-to-talk interfaces.

"The Bluetooth headset market is growing rapidly and with the addition of a natural user interface, the AISonic SmartMic platform, with our leading-edge audio edge processor, enables the next must-have feature in true wireless earbuds, sports, neckband, and over-the-ear headsets.”

Author
Neil Tyler

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