Spansion Unveils Voice-Enabled Electronics with Human Interface Coprocessor

Flash memory solutions provider Spansion has launched the Spansion Acoustic Coprocessor, the industry's first human machine interface (HMI) coprocessor that enables voice-controlled system interfaces.

"HMIs enhance the user interface in embedded connections, creating a more compelling voice experience for consumers," says Alvin Wong, vice president of marketing and business development, Programmable System Solutions. "The Spansion Acoustic Coprocessor combines custom logic and high-speed memory to deliver faster, more accurate voice recognition and processing."

Using Nuance voice technology, the product is targeted for voice recognition systems in automotive, gaming, and consumer electronics sectors. It significantly improves response time and accuracy over conventional voice interfaces by supporting larger acoustic databases, according to the companies. Spansion Acoustic Coprocessor comprises custom-designed logic and high-speed memory to accelerate and optimize voice-enabled human machine interfaces, while offloading the acoustic processing workload from a conventional CPU.

"In today's computing devices, the CPU handles everything from high-speed Internet access and HD video to 3-D navigation and voice recognition, creating a bottleneck of both processing power and memory bandwidth," said Michael Palma, IDC senior research analyst, semiconductors, in a statement. "Using an application-specific coprocessor to handle acoustic scoring can dramatically improve system responsiveness and latency of voice recognition systems while giving the CPU more capacity to focus on other resource-intensive applications, enabling a better user experience across the board."

To date, user interfaces have relied on generic hardware and software, the companies said. Spansion Acoustic Coprocessor is the first application-specific approach that integrates custom-designed logic and hardware with Nuance's VoCon software engine, and provides a dedicated resource for natural user interfaces such as voice.

Spansion Acoustic Coprocessor leverages Spansion's technology in enabling instant-on response, high reliability, and performance across a range of embedded applications. Benchmark results demonstrate that with the Spansion Acoustic Coprocessor, system response improves by 50 percent over typical systems using an application processor alone. The load on the application processor decreases by up to 50 percent, freeing it for other tasks. In addition, the Spansion Acoustic Coprocessor is able to support larger databases with multilingual, gender, and tonal sounds, which in turn improves accuracy and advances natural language understanding.

Spansion's first implementation is in the automotive market, where voice is providing a safer, smarter way to stay connected behind the wheel, minimizing visual-manual distractions posed by handheld devices. The Spansion demo platform, which integrates Spansion's technology and Nuance voice recognition software, is currently being evaluated by major automotive manufacturers, with design samples available in the third quarter of this year.

"As human and machine interaction proliferates, the need for a more natural user interface is emerging with voice taking the lead," said Ali Pourkeramati, senior vice president of strategic alliances and business development at Spansion, in a statement. "Our new acoustic coprocessor product reinforces our strategy to deliver value-add systems capabilities that will drive differentiation for our customers' products and inspire widespread adoption of connected, intelligent devices."

SpeechTek Covers
for qualified subscribers
Subscribe Now Current Issue Past Issues
Related Articles

New Directions in Natural Language Understanding

Watson and Siri are only the beginning.