CEVA looks to standardise DSP-enabled Bluetooth Audio IP with Bluebud Wireless Audio Platform

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CEVA, a licensor of wireless connectivity and smart sensing technologies, has unveiled Bluebud, a highly-integrated wireless audio platform.

The platforms has been developed in a move intended to standardise DSP-enabled Bluetooth audio IP for the fast-growing Bluetooth audio markets, including True Wireless Stereo (TWS) earbuds, hearables, wireless speakers, gaming headsets, smartwatches and other wearable devices.

According to ABI Research, Bluetooth audio market growth is expected to accelerate in the coming years, with nearly 2 billion devices forecast to be shipped annually by 2024.

The Bluebud platform addresses the technology complexities and scarcity of expertise that semiconductor and system companies are facing for the development of wireless audio systems. It serves to provide a standardised and self-contained solution that companies targeting the lucrative Bluetooth audio market can effectively drop-in to their system-on-chip (SoC) design, dramatically reducing the high entry barriers and time-to-market.

Bluebud enables end-product differentiation via support for host-level application software which can run on the CEVA-BX1 DSP or an optional host CPU.

The platform combines CEVA’s RivieraWaves Bluetooth 5.2 IP, with both Classic Audio and LE Audio, and the CEVA-BX1 audio processor, together with all the required peripherals for wireless audio, in a compact low power design, with a footprint of less than 0.5mm2 in 22nm. The single-core architecture reduces the overall latency from RF to audio output down to less than 20ms, ensuring impeccable audio/video sync for movies and gaming.

The design also incorporates an advanced power management unit supporting idle and sleep power-down modes through sophisticated clock and voltage scaling, inherent in the fully integrated Bluetooth audio platform.

The onboard CEVA-BX1 DSP along with the SenslinQ DSP software framework enables semiconductor and OEM users to integrate differentiated, value-add software from CEVA, its ecosystem partners or custom software, onto the Bluebud platform. CEVA’s optional software available for Bluebud includes ClearVox multi-microphone noise reduction & acoustic echo cancellation, WhisPro voice trigger & commands, and MotionEngine Hear for user control via tap and double tap, head tracking, in-ear detection and activity classification.

For light AI inferencing workloads, Bluebud allows users to run TinyML models such as a wake word engine to summon a voice assistant or detect sound events for contextual awareness, using native support for the TensorFlow Lite Micro neural network framework.

“Consumer demand for TWS earbuds and other wireless audio devices has grown tremendously, with more diverse use cases and new features consistently being introduced,” said Erez Bar-Niv, CTO of CEVA. “The Bluebud platform serves to standardise DSP-enabled Bluetooth audio IP for any semiconductor or systems company, solving the complex challenges of syncing audio packets over Bluetooth, with a drop-in IP that delivers robust, high quality Bluetooth connectivity and audio performance.

"Supported by our portfolio of audio, voice, sensor fusion and AI software, Bluebud customers can develop differentiated wireless audio solutions with outstanding performance, addressing the full range of tiers from budget through to premium experience, faster than ever.”