Voice Activated Alexa Arrives on Bluetooth Headsets

LAS VEGAS and SANTA CLARA, Calif. – January 5, 2017 – Sensory’s VoiceGenie enables a hands-free experience on Bluetooth devices through Alexa integration and embedded AI

Sensory Inc., a leader in speech and vision technologies that enhance the user experience and security of consumer electronics, announces VoiceGenie™, a new solution that brings speech recognition technology to Bluetooth headphones and headsets for hands-free voice control of headphone functions, music playback, call handling, as well as access to fitness information and control of smartphone assistants. It also supports the “Alexa” wake word and enables Bluetooth devices to benefit from the advanced skillsets offered by Amazon’s Alexa Voice Service (AVS) – completely hands-free.

“Alexa has been a huge hit in the home, and customers tell us every day about new ways they’d love to use Alexa,” said Priya Abani, Director, Amazon Alexa. “With companies like Sensory using Alexa Voice Service to create new experiences like VoiceGenie, customers will soon be able to use Alexa and its thousands of skills in new environments.”

VoiceGenie, the latest hands-free voice-enabling solution from Sensory, targets the growing market for stereo Bluetooth headset systems and other wearable, fitness, and hearable devices. One of the most exciting facets of VoiceGenie is that it enables hands-free device control as well as voice activated access to AI services such as Amazon’s Alexa. Through a separate application running on the phone, Alexa can be accessed via a Bluetooth headset, using the connected smartphone as a gateway to the cloud.

There are four key environments for voice assistants: smartphones, smart home, automobiles, and wearables. For reasons of form factor and power consumption, the wearables market has been the most difficult to integrate voice assistants. Sensory’s latest breakthroughs in low-power speech recognition technology creates a solution that opens the floodgates for manufactures to make exciting new hearables, fitness accessories and wireless stereo headphones that benefit from a hands-free voice-controlled digital assistant experience. “BlueAnt has shipped millions of Bluetooth products with Sensory technology over the past several years; we are excited to incorporate VoiceGenie with Alexa, and expect to have product introductions in 2017,” said Taisen Maddern, Founder and CEO, BlueAnt Wireless.

Technical restrictions that have kept this convenient technology out of the forefront, such as running on tiny DSPs, limited battery power, cloud connections, and ability to work during noise and music playback, have been overcome by new breakthroughs from Sensory – making this pie-in-the-sky concept now a reality. To overcome some of these challenges, Sensory intertwined its speech recognition code with a music decoder so they could run simultaneously and in low power on a small DSP. By running on a Bluetooth audio SoC designed for headphones and headsets, Sensory’s embedded low-power speech recognition technologies can offer an “always ready” hands-free experience to activate three different types of voice-enabled AI assistants:

  1. VoiceGenie: Allows access and control for Bluetooth devices and music playing from the mobile phone. Checking connections, battery strength, settings or controlling music playback and more can all be done through voice commands, even when music is playing. When phone calls come in VoiceGenie announces who is calling and lets you answer or ignore the call by voice.
  2. VoiceGenie to Phone Commands: VoiceGenie can listen for commands to be directed to the built in mobile assistants.
  3. VoiceGenie to Alexa: Using the VoiceGenie mobile app, Alexa can be accessed by voice through the headset. This provides access to the thousands of Alexa skills offered, ranging from controlling your smart home to finding you a location for dinner. You don’t need to be anywhere near an Echo, VoiceGenie makes the connection to the Alexa cloud – Just say, “Alexa”.

“I have two Amazon Echos in my house and four Alexa devices at work, and it’s really cool to be able to sit on a couch or in front of my computer and ask for my step count. However, I can’t use my Echo on a run, which is really when I want hands-free access to my heart rate or step count through Alexa. With VoiceGenie, querying this sort of information through Bluetooth headsets while biking, hiking, jogging and more is now possible,” said Todd Mozer, CEO of Sensory.

For more information about this announcement, Sensory or its technologies, please contact sales@sensory.com ; Press inquiries: press@sensory.com.

About Sensory Inc.
Sensory Inc. creates a safer and superior UX through vision and voice technologies. Sensory’s technologies are 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 a billion units of leading consumer products.