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Snips collaborates with NXP to add local and offline voice recognition to i.MX RT crossover MCU

Snips icon

Snips Team

Highlights:

  • Local voice control solution eliminates cloud connectivity related costs, internet dependence and end user data privacy concerns.
  • Complete production ready solution based on the i.MX RT106L crossover MCU will drastically reduce costs and time to market for brands and OEMs.
  • The solution includes customizable, low latency, far field wake word and commands, noise suppression and echo cancellation.

Berlin, Germany (IFA 2019) September 6, 2019

Snips, a pioneer in embedded voice recognition software for businesses, products and services, announced it has collaborated with NXP® Semiconductors to launch a new industry-leading microcontroller (MCU) based solution for far-field voice control with command recognition done locally on the device. The cost optimized, easy-to-use solution addresses the demand for ubiquitous voice control that can be embedded in a broad range of smart home, commercial and industrial markets, while preserving brand identity and users’ privacy by eliminating the need to connect to the cloud. 

According to Gartner, voice control is going to be a mainstream technology in a few years, with voice interfaces built into more than 50% of premium goods in developed markets by 2022, up from less than 1% in 2018. With the new solution NXP and Snips are at the forefront of that trend.   

“NXP’s introduction of the i.MX RT106L MCU-based offering makes it possible for OEMs to deliver low latency, hands-free experiences to their customers,” said Denis Cabrol, Executive Director for NXP’s IoT Solutions.  “End users get extremely fast response time, zero setup time, and their data stays private to the device. Manufacturers can select their own wake words and benefit from lower BOM and cloud costs.”

Integrating machine-learning-based automatic commands recognition (ACR) technology from Snips, the solution is built on NXP’s i.MX RT106L crossover MCU running FreeRTOS, enabling low latency detection of local commands and wake word(s). The solution also embeds all necessary digital signal processing capabilities for far-field operation. 

Out of the box, the i.MX RT106L MCU-based solution includes a wake word and four sets of example local commands, enabling developers to quickly validate adding voice control to their products or create rapid proof of concepts (PoC). 

“Combining the power of Snips Commands with NXP’s i.MX RT106L MCU-based local commands solution represents a breakthrough in price and performance, making it easy for brands and manufacturers of smart home and smart appliance products to add voice control without requiring cloud connectivity, removing the need for Wi-Fi and eliminating users’ privacy concerns,” said Joseph Dureau, CTO at Snips.  

NXP’s i.MX RT106L MCU-based local commands solution provides OEMs with a turnkey ACR offering and a far field AFE required to implement local voice control. Its production-ready hardware design includes the MCU, NXP’s TFA9894D smart audio amplifier with speaker protection, and fully integrated software supported by NXP and its distribution partners.  Additionally, the solution’s noise suppression, echo cancellation and beam-forming capabilities make it possible to use in acoustically difficult environments. The i.MX RT106L bundles all the necessary voice related capabilities and software at no extra cost.). The result is a total system cost of less than half that of microprocessor- and/or DSP-based alternatives. 

OEM customers can now contact NXP to apply for early access to the evaluation and development kit for this solution. Broad market availability is expected begin in Q1 2020.

NXP Snips commands board

See the MCU-based local commands solution in action at IFA Berlin 2019

The new solution will be demonstrated during IFA in Berlin, Germany on NXP Stand (1.2-117, Hall 1.2) and Snips Stand (373, Hall 26) at the Berlin Exhibition Grounds (ExpoCenter City) from September 6-11, 2019. More information can be found at: MCU-based Solution for Local Voice Control.