Breakthrough in Power Consumption for Always On, Always Listening Solution

Las Vegas Nevada – January 6, 2015. Sensory introduces ultra- low power sound detection IP block enabling <1mA always on.

Sensory today announced the immediate availability of its hardware low power sound detector which allows its TrulyHandsfreeTM Voice Control to operate at ultra-low power on DSPs and MCUs. The low power sound detector is a key component of TrulyHandsfree, previously implemented as a component of the firmware. It allows the speech recognizer to be suspended while an ultra-low power sound detection is running, listening for what could be speech.

Sensory has specifically designed its sound detector to address the onset of speech in real-world noisy environments, ensuring highest performance for TrulyHandsfree. In contrast, common voice activity detectors hurt speech recognition performance in these conditions.

The firmware implementation of Sensory’s low power sound detector is well proven and uses a buffer to store audio from the initial detection of sound to the speech recognizer initialization. It runs at well under 0.5 MIPS. The success of this firmware raised the idea of a hardware IP block that could push power consumption even lower. A standalone hardware block would allow an optimized gate level implementation of the sound detector while the DSP/MCU is powered down. Preliminary measurements show 9 microwatts total power consumption for the sound detector and buffer in a 65nmLP process node, or 4 times less power than the firmware implementation in the same node.

Depending on the mix of speech to silence, this solution reduces processing requirements and can lower overall complete power consumption (including microphone and preamp) with an always on implementation to under 1 mA, which has long been a target for use in wearables and battery operated consumer electronics.

The hardware low power sound detector is delivered as RTL with a verification suite, ready to integrate in IC designs. The RTL block takes as few as 8K gates depending on the IC technology used.

Moshe Sheier, Director of Product Marketing for Audio and Voice at CEVA said, “ We have been strategically collaborating with Sensory for several years, embedding their firmware solution on CEVA DSPs for the benefit of our common customers; we view the low power sound detector IP, which seamlessly integrates with the CEVA-TeakLite-4 DSP, as an attractive hybrid solution for true always-on voice control”

Bill Teasley, VP of Engineering at Sensory added, “We are very excited about the prospect of ICs utilizing our hardware low power sound detector to further drive down power consumption and extend battery life for always-on, always-listening devices.”

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About Sensory Inc.

Sensory Inc. creates a safer and superior UX through vision and voice technologies. Sensory’s technology is widely deployed in consumer electronics applications including mobile phones, automotive, wearables, toys, IoT and various home electronics. With its TrulyHandsfree™ voice control, Sensory has set the standard for mobile handset platforms’ ultra-low power “always listening” touchless control. To date, Sensory’s technologies have shipped in over half a billion units of leading consumer products. Visit Sensory at


TrulyHandsfree is a trademark of Sensory Inc.