A new plug-and-play chip that could give Amazon's Alexa talents everything with a single speaker could also help cut the cable into new smart speakers. Currently, Amazon only offers a single, fully wireless Alexa speaker, the Amazon Tap. All other echo speakers want to be constantly connected to power.
Third-party batteries have appeared to temporarily cut through this cable. Ninety7's Vaux, for example, packs a battery and a larger speaker into a cylindrical docking station for the Echo Dot, making the Smart Speaker portable. Most, however, have a limited battery life: Vaux, for example, takes six hours.
This is because most of Amazon's echo products were not very economical, as they were always meant to be connected. The DSP Group wants to change that from the architecture. It has been working with Amazon on a new chipset, the HDClear 3-Mic Development Kit for Amazon AVS, which should be much more frugal.
In fact, according to the company, even with constant listening for the Alexa Wake-Word Power consumption can still be "well below 1 mA". All usual Alexa functions are supported, eg. For example, the tracking of voice commands even when playing music and other audio signals, acoustic echo cancellation and beamforming and far-field microphone amplification.
DSP suggests it lends the new chipset as ideal for the smallest gadgets with the most performance limitations. Think of smartwatches and other wearables or networked home and IoT devices like smart thermostats.
What sets the chipset apart is not just the power consumption, but also the ease of implementation. In fact, DSP Group claims that it could be as easy to implement as connecting the tiny circuit board to a speaker and to the power supply. Baked is a DMBD5 audio processor from the company, connected to a Raspberry Pi and a triple microphone array.
"We envision a future where customers interact with Alexa anywhere and from any device," said Priya Abani, director of Alexa Voice Service at Amazon, about the new chipset. DSP presents the DBMD5 as an autonomous option for any microphone-equipped device to get Alexa support, but this new development kit goes one step further and only misses the speaker.
Meanwhile, it is believed that Amazon itself works on some of their own Alexa chips. The retailer will upgrade hardware that supports offline access to its voice-enabled assistant, an AI coprocessor that provides faster responses and selects functionality, even if there was no internet connection at that time.
The DSP Group Development Kit can be ordered now and costs $ 249. The price calculation for the DBMD5 alone has yet to be confirmed.