At home and at work, we are now increasingly interacting with Internet-of-Things devices. They are used in many areas of our lives, from consumer electronics, industrial, smart-home infrastructure, to remote health monitoring devices. Currently, the number of IoT devices worldwide is estimated at over 12 billion and is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years. A significant portion of them are battery-powered devices and – therefore – require reduced power consumption.
The majority (up to 77%) of customers report that they are increasingly using contactless interfaces. Voice interfaces are an excellent alternative to operating devices via screens and keyboards – voice is the most natural method of communication. This is particularly important for the elderly or those with limited mobility. As a result, dynamics projections for the voice interface market indicate growth trends of 20% per year.
One of the challenges in the design of convenient, portable devices of this kind is minimizing power consumption, resulting in reduced weight and dimensions, and longer operating time. Phonemic is designing SoC (System-on-a-Chip) components. The company’s goal is to create a set of IP-Core solutions for voice-controlled devices that fit into the concept of technology with minimal power consumption.
Phonemic currently offers a VAD (Voice Activity Detection) module. Building voice-controlled IoT devices that do not consume too much power in standby mode requires a very thoughtful design of the chip, allowing it to do the minimum work necessary. “Understanding” voice commands is a power-intensive function. The solution to this problem is to use a VAD chip that, without consuming too much power, is able to capture the speech sound and distinguish it from other sounds in the environment. On recognizing that the incoming sound is not a barking dog or an engine, but a command from the user, the VAD is designed to instantly “wake up” the more power-intensive systems that recognize and interpret commands. Using Phonemic VAD can reduce power consumption up to 100 times, compared to non-VAD solutions.
Phonemic’s further development plans include, among others, efficient hardware solutions for wireless communication in IoT devices (radio signal formation) and cyber security for such communication (encryption, authentication). This will allow to create a complete portfolio of products designed for IoT devices with limited energy budget.
Phonemic team consists of engineers with many years of industry experience.
Dr. Michał Staworko – his scientific and professional experience includes research and development work in the field of microprocessor circuits, in particular designing dedicated digital signal processing systems for low-power telecom and voice applications.
Tomasz Wojciechowski – in his scientific work and as a designer he develops integrated circuits and cryptography.