Knowles Launches Raspberry Pi Development Kit

Knowles, a provider of advanced micro-acoustic microphones and speakers, audio processing, and precision device solutions, today launched the Knowles AISonic IA8201 Raspberry Pi Development Kit to bring voice, audio edge processing, and machine learning (ML) listening capabilities to devices and systems in a range of new industries.

By leveraging the kit, product designers and engineers have a single tool to streamline design, development, and testing of voice and audio technologies.

"Knowles designed this new kit to be the simplest and fastest way for product designers to prototype new innovations to address emerging use cases, including contextually aware voice, ML listening, and real-time audio processing, that require flexible development tools to accelerate the design process, minimize development costs, and leverage new technological advances," said Vikram Shrivastava, senior director of IoT marketing at Knowles, in a statement. "By selecting Raspberry Pi as the system host, we are opening up the ability to add voice and ML to the largest community of system developers that prefer a Linux or Android environment."

The new kit is built around the Knowles AI Sonic IA8201 Audio Edge Processor Open DSP for ultra-low power and high performance for a plethora of audio processing needs. The audio edge processor combines two Tensilica-based, audio-centric DSP cores; one for high-power compute andAI/ML applications, and the other for very low-power, always-on processing of sensor inputs.

The IA8201 has 1 megabyte of RAM on-chip that allows for high-bandwidth processing of advanced, always-on, contextually aware ML use cases and memory to support multiple algorithms.

Using the Knowles open DSP platform, the kit includes a library of on-board audio algorithms and AI/ML libraries. Far-field audio applications can be built using the available ultra-low power voice wake, beamforming, custom keywords, and background noise elimination algorithms from Knowles partners, such as Amazon Alexa, Sensory, Retune, and Alango.

The kit also features TensorFlow Lite-Micro SDK for fast prototyping and product development for AI/ML applications. The TensorFlow-Lite SDK allows for porting models developed in larger cloud TensorFlow frameworks to an embedded platform at the edge, usually with limited compute and lower power consumption. This could include AI inference engines for anomaly detection in verticals such as industrial and commercial.

With options for either two or three pre-integrated Knowles Everest microphones , the kit includes two microphone array boards.

Developer support is available through the Knowles Solutions Portal for configuration tools, firmware, and algorithms that come standard with the kit, allowing for complete prototyping, design, and debugging.

"According to recent Parks Research survey data, more than half of U.S. broadband households find it appealing to use voice control for their connected devices. The demand and the opportunity for voice applications is substantial, but it has often been incredibly complex and expensive for OEMs/ODMs to add the latest voice capabilities to devices. Solutions like those being offered by Knowles that enable voice recognition in a cost-effective, reliable, and easy-to-use manner will strongly resonate with consumers," said Mark Vena, senior director of the Smart Home Research Practice at Parks Associates, in a statement.

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