MEMS microphone smoothes the way to natural voice control in smart consumer devices
October 21, 2011 // Paul Buckley
STMicroelectronics has expanded the company’s sensor portfolio with a new high-performance, low-power digital MEMS microphone. Housed inside an ultra-small 3 x 4 x 1 mm package, ST’s MP34DT01 top-port microphone delivers a best-in-class audio experience in mobile phones, tablets and other smart consumer devices.
The MP34DT01 employs a patent-pending technology that allows designers to place the microphone membrane closer to the acoustic port hole on the top of the package with a substantial increase in performance and no penalty in size. It is the first MEMS microphone in the market that couples the advantage of a top-port sound-inlet position with unparalleled signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of 63 dB and flat frequency response in the full audio band of 20–20,000 Hz.
ST’s MP34DT01 outclasses competing devices as the first top-port digital MEMS microphone with better acoustic parameters than existing bottom-port mics. The device perfectly matches the needs of clever speech-recognition systems for voice-controlled software and electronic-assistant applications being used in new consumer applications, where improving audio intelligibility without increasing the workload on the main processor, is a key factor. The device’s best-in-class SNR makes it also suitable for applications beyond typical consumer applications, such as phonometers – sound-level meters that require high dynamic range.ST’s MEMS microphones use best-in-class acoustic sensor technology jointly developed with OMRON that is inherently less susceptible to mechanical vibration, temperature variations and electromagnetic interference, while providing high-fidelity reproduction of audio signals at low power consumption.
In addition to the size, robustness and low-power advantages compared with traditional condenser microphones, MEMS microphones enable dramatic advancements in sound quality in multiple-microphone applications. Such microphone arrays, facilitated by the small form factor, superior sensitivity matching and frequency response of ST’s microphones, enable the implementation of active noise and echo cancelling, as well as beam-forming, a sound-processing technology that helps isolate a sound and its location. These features are invaluable with the increasing use of cell phones and other devices in noisy and uncontrollable environments.
ST’s MEMS microphones pair perfectly with the latest generation of the Company’s Sound Terminal audio processing chips that feature a dedicated built-in interface for direct connection of a MEMS microphone, saving parts count and cost.
The MP34DT01 is the second member in ST’s high-end MEMS microphone family and new devices with best-in-class SNR and trimmable sensitivity for matching within 1dB, coupled with further size reduction, are in the pipeline for 2012 and 2013.
Already qualified by a top-tier cell-phone maker, ST’s top-port MP34DT01 MEMS microphone is available in mass production, with unit pricing $1.42 in quantities of 1,000 pieces.
More information about ST’s MEMS portfolio at www.st.com/mems
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Internet of Things (IoT) manufacturer Ciseco has launched the Raspberry Pi ‘Wireless Inventors Kit’ (RasWIK), featuring 88 pieces to provide everything a Pi owner needs to follow a series of step-by-step projects or to create their own wireless devices, without the need for configuration or even writing code.
RasWIK has been designed to be highly accessible, demystifying the dark art of wireless and enabling anyone with basic computing skills to begin building wireless devices with a Raspberry Pi. You can create anything from a simple traffic light, to a battery monitor, or even a temperature gauge that sends data to the Xively IoT cloud so billions can access the data.This month, Ciseco is giving away twelve Raspberry Pi Wireless Inventors kits, worth £49.99 each for EETimes Europe's readers to win.
And the winners are...
In our previous reader offer, Farsens was giving away five kits for EEtimes Europe readers to evaluate its FenixVortex, Kineo and X1 wireless, battery free sensor tags.
Lucky winners include Mr A. Neil from the UK, Mr. E. Delvaux from Belgium, Mr Lengal from the Czech Republic, Mr H. Bijlsma from the Netherlands, and Mr G. Pfaff from Germany. All should be receiving their packages soon. Lets wish them some interesting findings with their projects.
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