NXP has unveiled a new i.MX RT106L crossover microcontroller (MCU) that will make it easier for device manufacturers to integrate voice commands into various smart devices. The major selling point is the platform’s local capabilities, which enable voice commands without the need for a cloud connection and consequently offer more privacy than a fully connected device.
The solution is being developed in collaboration with Snips, a voice recognition specialist that is providing automatic commands recognition (ACR). The Snips Commands platform comes with one wake word and four sets of example commands out of the box, but customers can customize the platform with their own wake words and commands in collaboration with NXP.
The i.MX RT106L is designed for a wide variety of applications, including smart home devices and commercial and industrial solutions. Since the MCU does not require cloud access, it is able to provide far-field voice operation even in the absence of a WiFi connection. Other features include noise suppression, echo cancellation, and low latency detection, which enable voice commands in suboptimal audio conditions.
The new audio MCU comes only days after NXP announced a similar MCU for offline facial recognition. It also arrives shortly after NXP sold its Voice and Audio Solutions business to Goodix, and indicates that the company has not fully abandoned the voice recognition market.
NXP is now sharing the MCU with select manufacturers through an early access program, with a wide launch expected in the first quarter of 2020.