Audio and Video

Now Amazon Alexa can be ported to toasters and hairdryers

19 November 2020
ST is developing microcontrollers that can enable dumb appliance such as toasters and hairdryers to respond to voice commands. Source: ST

ST Microelectronics has introduced an Amazon-qualified reference design package for smart connected devices using Amazon Voice Services (AVS).

Using the package, designers can create internet of things (IoT) devices with Alexa built in using microcontrollers. The AVS integration can allow smart devices such as toasters, cookers, thermostats, blinds, hairdryers and other devices to use Amazon Alexa voice commands. ST said this could accelerate the end of traditional buttons and dials in the smart home to use voice only in a variety of new products as well as access cloud services such as cooking advice or reordering consumables.

ST’s family of STM32 microcontrollers is integrated with Alexa voice-user-interface software and based on the 32-bit Arm Cortex-M MCU family that allows for connected devices to use far-field audio capture and natural-language understanding.

The ST AVS integration contains a compact 36 mm x 65 mm main board that combines an STM32H743 MCU and Wi-Fi module. The reference design integrates audio front-end processing, local wake-word detection, communication interfaces and RAM and flash memory in a single chip.

The audio front end allows for far-field voice detection, even in noisy environments and with closely spaced microphones. The front end comes with a free audio weaver tool license for designers to fine-tune devices.

“The STM32H7's combination of large internal RAM and Flash, peripheral integration and high-speed processor enables TalkTo, our high-performance audio front-end, to drive significantly better performance in real-time,” said Paul Beckmann, DSP Concepts founder and CTO. “TalkTo is delivered through Audio Weaver, so product makers can quickly design, develop and deploy a wide range of voice-enabled products.”

An audio daughter board can be paired with the ST reference design that contains an audio codec, user LEDs and buttons as well as two MP23DB01HP microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) microphones spaced at 36 mm for size-constrained devices.

To contact the author of this article, email PBrown@globalspec.com


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