USB Microphone Array Serves Voice-Activated Applications

The new miniDSP UMA-8 is a high-performance yet low-cost multichannel USB microphone array built around XMOS multicore technology, designed for voice-recognition application development. Seven high-performance MEMS microphones are configured in a circular arrangement to provide high-quality voice capture for a wide range of applications. Leveraging the onboard DSP processing, the UMA-8 supports voice algorithms including beamforming, noise reduction, acoustic echo cancellation, and de-reverb.

miniDSPUMA 8BoardFlight

Developed with applications in voice-activated control, smart assistants, robotics, conferencing, and more in mind, the UMA-8 pocket-size platform targets both DIYers and the OEM market, and was engineered for flexibility in firmware, software and hardware. For advanced users, full control and configuration of the DSP array processing parameters are available with a real-time GUI. This can be used to fine tune the various algorithms: acoustic echo cancellation, noise reduction, voice activation detect, and so on, dramatically improving voice pickup.

The UMA-8 costs $95. Step-by-step application notes are available for setup and configuration of the UMA-8 with the most common smart assistants currently available, including Amazon Alexa Voice + Raspberry Pi, Microsoft Cortana, and Apple Siri. miniDSP will be expanding those application notes in the future.

miniDSP | www.minidsp.com

Cypress Announces Highly-Integrated Programmable EZ-PD CCG3PA USB-C Controller with Power Delivery 3.0 and Quick Charge 4.0 Support

During Computex 2017, Cypress Semiconductor announced availability of a new USB-C controller with Power Delivery (PD) that streamlines the design of power adapters, chargers, and power banks. The EZ-PD CCG3PA controller supports the PD 3.0 standard with programmable power supply (PPS) and Qualcomm’s Quick Charge (QC) 4.0 protocol, which enable new power source product designs to provide an improved fast charging user experience.

As these standards and the USB Type-C standard continue to evolve, compliance and interoperability pose an ongoing challenge, but the programmable CCG3PA controller enables firmware upgradeability to keep up with changes and overcome interoperability issues. The new Cypress controller offers a high level of integration that minimizes bill-of-material costs and simplifies designs, replacing multiple discrete components with a single-chip solution.

“As USB-C proliferates this year, the demand for USB-C power sources will increase, putting more pressure on our customers to bring their power adapters, mobile chargers, car chargers and power banks to market quickly, while keeping up with rapidly evolving USB standards,” says Ajay Srikrishna, vice president of Cypress’ Wired Connectivity Business Unit. “Our highly-integrated EZ-PD CCG3PA controller is optimized to simplify the design of USB-C power source products, with support for the required charging standards, and the ability to upgrade firmware to keep pace with changes in standards.”

The EZ-PD CCG3PA controller is a one-chip solution that minimizes bill-of-material costs for USB-C power source products by integrating error amplifiers for constant voltage, constant current and PPS applications, a 30 V regulator that allows direct operation from VBUS, VBUS short protection on configuration channel (CC) pins, gate drivers for high-voltage power FETs, a low side current sense amplifier, and dedicated hardware for legacy charger detection protocols plus system level electrostatic discharge (ESD) protection.

Programmable overvoltage and overcurrent circuitry protects systems against power overloads and other faulty operating conditions. The controller also integrates an ARM Cortex-M0 and 64KB Flash with read-while-write function for firmware upgradeability. The product enables design of efficient USB-C power adapters for a wide range of applications.

The EZ-PD CCG3PA controller is now sampling in 24-pin QFN (16 mm2) and 16-pin SOIC (60 mm2) packages. The controller will be in production in the third quarter of 2017. Designers can get started with the CY4532 CCG3PA evaluation kit (pictured below), which is now available for $149. Cypress provides CCG3PA solution reference designs for a 45-Watt notebook PC power adapter, a 27-Watt mobile phone charger, a 60-Watt car charger and a power bank. More info on Cypress’ USB Type-C and PD solutions is available at www.cypress.com/Type-C.

Cypress’ EZ-PD portfolio of USB-C controllers already includes the CCG1, CCG2, and CCG3 programmable USB-C controllers, the CCG4 two-port USB-C solution, and CCG5, the market’s first two-port USB-C solution optimized for Thunderbolt notebook and desktop PCs, all supporting the latest USB PD 3.0 specification.

The USB Type-C standard is gaining rapid support with top-tier electronics manufacturers by enabling slim industrial designs, easy-to-use connectors and cables, and the ability to transmit multiple protocols and deliver up to 100 Watts of power.

Vesper VM1010 MEMS Microphones

Vesper recently launched the VM1010, which is the first wake-on-sound MEMS microphone that consumes nearly zero power. It allows consumers to voice-activate battery-powered smart speakers, smart earbuds and TV remotes without draining the battery. The inaugural member of Vesper’s ZeroPower Listening MEMS microphone product line, the VM1010 is a tiny, ultra-rugged piezoelectric MEMS microphone that that enables you to offer touchless user interfaces to consumers without any power-consumption penalty.VesperVM1010DevBoardWeb

Consuming a mere 6 µA while in listening mode, the Vesper’s VM1010 extends battery life to months or years by enabling the rest of the system to completely power down while waiting for a keyword. That is a major advantage to designers who can create an entirely new class of rugged, battery-operated, voice-interface devices that work anywhere.

The VM1010 is a low-noise, high dynamic range, single-ended analog output piezoelectric MEMS microphone. It features a configurable voice zone, allowing voice in a 5-foot radius to 20-foot radius-zone to trigger the system and increase to a normal operation mode. When the environment is quiet, the system can enter ZeroPower Listening mode and the entire system can power down.

Like other Vesper piezoelectric MEMS microphones, the VM1010 sets the standard for reliability and stability, even in harsh environments. It is dustproof to IP5X and waterproof to IPX7. Because it is stable in all environments, the VM1010 microphones are also ideally suited to microphone arrays, which are critical to far-field audio applications. Drawing a mere 6 µA of power in always-listening mode, the VM1010 extends battery life 10× or more.

Vesper’s VM1010 is currently sampling and is available online through Digi-Key. Test boards and reference design boards using VM1010, DSP Group’s DSPG DBMD6 and Sensory’s Truly Handsfree wake word algorithms are available from Vesper via an exclusive invitation-only program.

Vesper’s MEMS microphones represent a radical shift from the capacitive MEMS microphones that are shipping by the hundreds of millions in smartphones, hearables, smart speakers, Internet of Things devices and connected cars. Vesper’s piezoelectric design is waterproof, dustproof, particle-resistant and shockproof. Piezoelectric MEMS microphones make voice-interface devices practical in any environment, and they are also ideally suited for far-field applications such as microphone arrays.

Source: Vesper