Ambiq Debuts Voice-on-SPOT Kit to Bring Voice Controls to Battery-Operated Devices

Cecilia Nysing

Microcontroller developer Ambiq has launched a new product for incorporating voice into Internet-of-Things devices more quickly. The new Voice-on-SPOT (VoS) Kit aims at working with some of the bigger names in smart devices to provide voice assistants on devices with a mix of hardware and software elements while using a minimal amount of power.

Ambiq’s Voice

The first Ambiq VoS Kit relies on Ambiq’s Apollo3 Blue Plus MCU to offer an always-listening application with up to two microphones running wake word detection and signal processing for a  voice assistant. The idea is to build the kit into video game controls, smartwatches, health trackers, remote controls, and other battery-operated devices. They will then be able to run voice assistants either directly or as part of a larger smart home ecosystem without eating through their batteries immediately by always listening. The VoS Kit will also be rolled into future Ambiq hardware. The Apollo4 Blue VoS Kit is slated to roll out later this year, with two analog microphones and an even lower energy cost. That version will offer even more voice capabilities, including phone calls and translation services.

“Voice is the most convenient but least utilized input modality to interact with a product. The mass adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) in our everyday lives has accelerated the shift toward voice applications,” Ambiq director of solutions marketing Marc Miller said in a statement. “With the Ambiq VoS Kit, manufacturers finally have a complete solution to implement always-on voice command in their IoT devices while achieving up to one-year battery life.”

Sound Up

Ambiq cites the growth of the speech recognition and voice market as the reason for investing in the new solution. In particular, the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns accelerated the use of the technology in both personal and business contexts. Battery-operated devices that are always listening have started to appear more on the market in earbuds and other devices thanks to better batteries and low-power electronics. That’s why the new Roku Voice Remote Pro offers hands-free activation by voice and a rechargeable battery, that is supposed to last for two months when it’s full.

As Ambiq’s new product is built into the back-end of a product, it has already started partnering with other audio tech companies in order to leverage their respective creations for the better. For instance, products with Ambiq’s tech may also include Audio Weaver, the audio tech platform developer DSP Concepts, as well as wake words and voice commands designed on Sensory’s VoiceHub platform

“Sensory and Ambiq share the same goal of faster time to market for always-on voice devices,” Sensory vice president of marketing Joe Murphy said. “Using Sensory’s VoiceHub, developers can quickly build custom wake word models and voice control command sets. Taking it a step further, developers can select the Ambiq Apollo output which offers seamless integration with Ambiq’s VoS kit.”

  

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