Knowles Launches Context-Aware Voice Hardware

Knowles, a supplier of advanced micro-acoustic, audio processing, and precision device solutions, has launched the IA8508 advanced audio processor optimized for performance and power in both near and far-field voice applications.

The IA8508 platform offers improved voice recognition, especially in far-field and high noise environments. It consists of high-performance, power-efficient heterogeneous audio cores that are optimized for the most challenging voice interaction use-cases.

The IA8508 is designed for machine learning through deep neural network hardware acceleration, optimized architecture, and proprietary instruction set. In addition, the IA8508 leverages lightweight floating point operations, enabling ease of programmability, high dynamic range, and low power comparable to fixed-point operations.

"The market opportunity for voice-powered devices is massive. From mobile phones to ear-worn devices, and smart speakers to TVs and appliances, voice-powered interactions have emerged as a critical and necessary feature," said Mike Polacek, president of intelligent audio at Knowles, in a statement. "People are looking to engage with technology through natural, spoken commands, across mobile, ear-worn and IoT products, and are racing to develop and deploy the technology to enable it. With core capabilities in acoustics, digital signal processing and algorithms, Knowles' intelligent audio expertise is unparalleled and places the company in a perfect position to solve the issues hampering voice technology."

The IA8508 supports an array of up to eight microphones and is equipped with four heterogeneous cores capable of simultaneously running high-performance algorithms leveraging 5.7MB of memory. It features a low-power core to listen to a variety of key wake-up phrases concurrently. While the  cores are optimized for performance, latency, and power efficiency, the IA8508 also includes an ARM Cortex M4 core for general purpose controller capability, allowing for immediate porting of existing legacy solutions.

Also announced today is the Knowles open DSP partner program, which brings together leading contributors to the intelligent voice ecosystem for improving audio performance in a variety of use-cases

"Knowles continues to innovate, most recently through its open DSP platform architecture providing both power efficiency and versatility," said Todd Mozer, CEO of Sensory, in a statement. "The Knowles open DSP platform environment enables quick and smooth integration of third-party IP, and this is evidenced by the recent successful enablement of Sensory's TrulyHandsfree technology."

"Knowles' market leadership in microphones combined with our technology advancement in digital signal processing and algorithms uniquely positions us to understand and solve complex audio problems," said Jeffrey Niew, president and CEO of Knowles, in a statement. "With our growing line-up of open audio DSPs, Knowles is enabling our customers and partners to push the boundaries of audio processing and create powerful new user experiences."

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