Spansion dedicates co-processor to understanding humans

June 25, 2012 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Flash memory vendor Spansion Inc. has developed a specific coprocessor dedicated to translate human voice input into commands to navigation systems, infotainment systems in cars as well as consumer electronics. The HMI coprocessor leverages voice technology from Nuance Communications and aims at improving response time and accuracy over conventional voice interfaces by supporting larger acoustic databases.

The Spansion Acoustic Coprocessor comprises custom-designed logic and high-speed memory to accelerate and optimize voice-enabled human machine interfaces, while offloading the acoustic processing workload from a conventional CPU.

As electronics become increasingly intelligent and interactive, human interfaces such as voice, image and gesture are emerging to meet the growing consumer demand for faster, more engaging access to information. To date, user interfaces have relied on generic hardware and software. Spansion Acoustic Coprocessor is the first application-specific approach that integrates custom-designed logic and hardware with Nuance's VoCon software engine, and provides a dedicated resource for natural user interfaces such as voice. With its highly focused processing resources, the Acoustic Coprocessor offloads General Purpose processors in head units, navigation systems and the like. 

“Advances in voice recognition that take us closer to natural language understanding are critical for the automotive market,” said Chris Schreiner, director of Automotive Consumer Insights for Strategy Analytics. “More and more automakers are incorporating voice recognition interfaces into vehicles to manage both mobile connectivity as well as aid driver safety. Improvements in accuracy and latency, such as those gained through innovations like the Spansion Acoustic Coprocessor, can provide big benefits to the consumer and change the way we interact with our vehicles.”

Spansion Acoustic Coprocessor leverages the company's technology in enabling instant-on response, high reliability and performance across a range of embedded applications. Benchmark results demonstrate that with the Spansion Acoustic Coprocessor, system response improves by 50 percent over typical systems using an application processor alone. The load on the application processor lowers by up to 50 percent, freeing it for other tasks. In addition, the Spansion Acoustic Coprocessor is able to support larger databases with multi-lingual, gender and tonal sounds, which in turn improves accuracy and advances natural language understanding.

IDC senior research analyst Michael Palma added, “In today's computing devices, the CPU handles everything from high-speed Internet access and HD video to 3D navigation and voice