MEMS mike draws almost no power

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Acoustic sensor developer Vesper has launched the VM1010, said to be the first MEMS microphone to enable voice activation while drawing almost no power.

The first member of Vesper’s ZeroPower Listening MEMS microphone product line, the VM1010 is said to allow product designers to offer touchless user interfaces without power consumption penalties.

Consuming 6µA while in listening mode, VM1010 is said to extend battery life to months or years by enabling the rest of the system to power down completely while waiting for a keyword.

“We are seeing a ‘Cambrian Explosion’ of voice-enabled consumer electronics, including smart speakers, smart earbuds and diverse IoT products,” said Matt Crowley, Vesper’s CEO. “The problem is that speech recognition can consume 1mW or more and that is why most voice-activated devices must be plugged in.

“By using materials that directly convert sound energy into electrical energy, VM1010 is the only MEMS microphone that uses sound energy itself to wake devices from sleep, while consuming negligible power.”

The VM1010 is a low-noise, high dynamic range, single-ended analogue output piezoelectric MEMS microphone. It features a configurable voice zone, allowing voice in a 5 to 20ft radius to trigger the system.