California-based DSP Group is looking to take Amazon's Alexa beyond smartphones and smart speakers with a new DBMD5 SoC designed with Amazon's Amazon Alexa Voice Service (AVS) in mind. Built to occupy less space than a dime, the company sees its chip being used in everything from smartwatches to more mobile devices and lighter smart speakers than what's available. Of course, there are already some solutions in the works or for sale that allow for some of what DSP wants to accomplish. However, most of those still depend on a connection to a smartphone in order to function. That causes problems for universality since some smartphones are more finicky than others when it comes to Alexa. With the new chip, that could easily become an issue of the past and that appears to be exactly what DSP Group is going for.
Aside from the new chipset itself, the company has also revealed a development kit based around the silicon, installed on the Raspberry Pi 3 - Model B. It incorporates the new SoC alongside a universal power supply and an SD Card slot. In order to show off what its chip is capable of, the kit also only makes use of three microphones mounted directly to the DSP Group HDClear 3-Mic Development Board. With the chip in place, the company says it is able to maintain a low-energy requirement while enabling advanced far-field voice detection and scalability. It's a solution which should be relatively easy to couple with a wide array of outgoing sound options for full Amazon Alexa functionality in a very small package.
Depending on the implementation, it could also get much smaller than that. Smart devices and wearables are already equipped with a wide array of hardware and many already incorporate a microphone and speaker, for example. DSP Group says its kit shows scalability from one mic to three. Given that the chip's size is so small, that means it's not outside of reasonable expectation that it would be easy enough to squeeze into a Wear OS or Tizen accessory. Beyond that, the new chip could make it easier than ever for OEMs to include more over-the-top features on a whole slew of in-home technology ranging from smart lamps and lighting solutions to wireless chargers and more. That would increase the diversity of top smart devices considerably.