Sensory will announce a small-footprint speech synthesis chip for Bluetooth devices next week, giving manufacturers the ability to add spoken output such as caller ID headsets and hands-free car kits.
The BlueGenie Lite is compatible with Cambridge Silicon Radio (CSR) products, such as the BlueCore 3 and BlueCore 5 chipsets. “We’re able to replace all these awkward presses and beeping with speech,” Sensory CEO Todd Mozer explained.
The chip has a wide variety of applications, such as announcing when a headset’s battery is low. Consumers will soon see wireless devices on the market that can speak the time, for applications such as alarms and appointments, such as in alarm clocks, microwave ovens, thermostats, coffee makers or DVRs, officials explained. Development and recording tools are also available for the limited 20 seconds of prompts, 27 Kb of code and 2 Kb of data space.
Sensory already makes a higher-end model that performs speech recognition, but that requires more hardware resources such as dual-microphone beamforming and closer integration with companies like CSR. It will probably lead to more creative features in 2009, Mozer said. For example, “Why not put recognizers in these personal electronic devices and take advantage of the power that’s there, allow the Bluetooth headset to do simple control? Sensory has applications on our roadmap for the handset that will be able to do that,” he said. A user could speak a song title, which the headset would recognize as a play command to pass to the device.
However, Sensory has no plans go into the headset business itself. “There have been temptations, but we don’t want to compete against our customers,” Mozer said.