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Low Power Automatic Speech Recognition
Low Power Automatic Speech Recognition
In anticipation of the age of voice-controlled electronics, MIT researchers have built a low-power chip specialized for automatic speech recognition.
Technology Briefing

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As explained at the recent International Solid-State Circuits Conference 2017, a low-power special-purpose chip could soon make speech recognition ubiquitous in electronics.

In anticipation of the age of voice-controlled electronics, MIT researchers have built a low-power chip specialized for automatic speech recognition. Whereas a cellphone running speech-recognition software might require about 1 watt of power, the new chip requires between 0.2 and 10 milliwatts, depending on the number of words it has to recognize.

In a real-world application, that probably translates to a power savings of 90-99 percent, which could make voice control practical for relatively simple electronic devices.

Speech input will become a natural interface for many wearable applications and intelligent devices. The miniaturization of these devices will require a different interface than touch or keyboard. It will be critical to embed the speech functionality locally to save system energy consumption compared to performing this operation in the cloud.

And the chip also includes a "voice activity detection" circuit that monitors ambient noise to determine whether it might be speech. If the answer is yes, the chip fires up the larger, more complex speech-recognition circuit avoiding continuous processing when nothing is being said.
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