Multicore audio processor chip has machine-learning aptitude

-November 01, 2017

This product is featured in EDN's Hot 100 products of 2017. See all 100 here.
The IA8508 quad-core, context-aware audio processor from Knowles improves voice recognition, especially in far-field and noisy environments. Offered in BGA, QFN, and CSP versions, the IA8508 packs three heterogeneous, low-latency DSP audio cores, an ARM Cortex M4 processor, and 5.7 Mbytes of shared memory for use in mobile phones, ear-worn products, and IoT devices, such as digital assistants, smart speakers, and TVs. Developers are now able to move audio processing to the edge of the network, embedding intelligence into a device where it is closer to the user and the environment.

The IA8508 is optimized for machine learning through DNN (deep neural network) hardware acceleration and an instruction set that is based on a 16-way SIMD (single instruction, multiple data) architecture. According to the manufacturer, the processor can perform specific machine-learning tasks 10 times more efficiently than competitive devices. Lightweight floating-point operations maintain audio signal fidelity, while minimizing power consumption.

To address issues related to noise and distance, the IA8508 uses algorithms for acoustic echo cancellation, dynamic beam forming, steering, sound classification, and noise suppression. Its low-power core is able to listen to a variety of key phrases concurrently. The part provides eight PDM (pulse density modulation) microphone interfaces, six bidirectional multichannel I2S/TDM links, and a PDM output. Processor interfaces include SPI, I2C, UART, and GPIOs.

The IA8508 is based on an open DSP platform, bringing together many contributors to the intelligent voice ecosystem. Knowles offers a full developer platform, including a software development kit, a plugin-based framework, example plugins, an evaluation module, compiler toolchain, test applications, optimized DSP toolkit libraries, and documentation.

Pricing for the IA8508 audio processor varies based on volume.

IA8508 product page


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