Wolfson’s new Ez2 software solutions help deliver ‘always on’ hands-free voice control and outstanding voice call quality in mobile applications

29th April 2013
ES Admin
Wolfson Microelectronics has introduced the first software solutions in its new Ez2 software feature collection, Ez2 control and Ez2 hear Rx ANC, which work alongside Wolfson’s existing hardware solutions, such as the WM5110 High Definition Audio System-on-a-Chip, to dramatically improve the user experience in mobile applications.
Wolfson’s Ez2 control integrates Sensory’s TrulyHandsfree Voice Control speech recognition solution with Wolfson’s hardware solutions to deliver ‘always on’ voice control for smartphones and other devices at ultra-low power, removing the need for physical button-push activation, as required in current voice control applications. This solution is fully compatible with the Android Operating System to ensure there is no loss of functionality while working at ultra-low power. Ez2 control supports over 40 country languages, and could be adopted, along with Sensory’s TrulyHandsfree solution, by any original equipment manufacturer looking to integrate sophisticated voice control features into devices. Crucially, it could prove far quicker and easier to integrate than a button-activated system, such as voice-activated controls in vehicles.

Traditionally, power consumption has been a barrier to complete hands-free voice control applications because ‘always on’ solutions were unfeasible, due to the high current drain from the battery by the application processor. However, Wolfson’s Ez2 control requires five times less power to run than existing market solutions. This makes it suitable to keep running in the background, always listening and waiting for a pre-programmed trigger word that will launch the full application and enable complete voice control functionality without any physical interaction.

Wolfson’s Ez2 hear Rx ANC delivers class-leading receive path Ambient Noise Cancellation to mobile applications, providing up to 20dB of noise reduction during mobile phone calls. Ez2 hear Rx ANC detects any background noise around the caller and creates an equal and opposite signal that neutralises the background noise, so that only the voice on the other end of the line is heard, resulting in crisp and clear voice calls, even in the noisiest environments, as well as less chance of those in conversation terminating the call as a result of background noise which can make communication difficult.

When integrated into a smartphone or tablet with the WM5110 HD Audio SoC, Ez2 hear Rx ANC removes the need for expensive noise cancelling headsets, since the noise cancelling technology is already built into the device. Low-cost ear bud headsets with one additional micro-electro-mechanical systems microphones built in to each bud will provide a real cost-effective in-box noise cancellation headset solution for smartphone and tablet OEMs.

Stephen Evans, VP of Software at Wolfson Microelectronics commented: “Voice is a natural and convenient way to interact, but having to activate it through touch detracts from its ease-of-use in real-world situations. Our Ez2 control technology is a crucial breakthrough that, alongside Sensory’s TrulyHandsfree solution, will elevate voice control beyond a novelty smartphone feature to fulfil its potential as the primary interaction interface in all sorts of future products such as televisions, washing machines and refrigerators.

“Additionally, consumers are increasingly demanding better quality voice calls, and our Ez2 hear™ Rx ANC is the perfect solution, enabling remarkably improved voice call quality regardless of whether you are in a noisy bar, busy train station or airport. Having noise cancellation technology built into the mobile device can, with the addition of a MEMS microphone in each ear bud, elevate a low-cost ear bud headset into a cost-effective in-box noise cancellation headset solution for smartphones and tablets.”

From Wolfson’s software suite, Ez2 control and Ez2 hear Rx ANC are the first of many software features to support the four HD Audio solutions categories: HD Audio Voice, HD Audio Playback, HD Audio Capture and HD Audio Share, which uniquely combine to provide a complete ‘mouth-to-ear’ audio experience.

HD Audio Voice features advanced noise cancelling techniques, such as Ez2 hear Rx ANC, to enable exceptionally crisp and clear voice calls in any environment; HD Audio Playback includes many sound enhancement features, for example, 5.1 Virtual Surround Sound, base and treble boost to allow music to be enjoyed at the highest quality in any environment; HD Audio Capture enables voice and gesture control of smart devices using Ez2 control and hi-fi audio recording on mobile devices in all environments, for example, at home, outside and even in a noisy venue like a club or concert; and HD Audio Share enables mobile phones, tablet computers, personal computers or televisions to be used in speaker mode for ultra-high quality mobile or internet conference calls, both “near field” for individual face-to-face calls, or “far field” for calls in a large conference room or living room with multiple people.

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