Wearables

Hearables with MotionEngine Hear sensor fusion software

9th October 2020
Alex Lynn

CEVA has introduced the Hillcrest Labs MotionEngine Hear, a sensor and processor agnostic embedded software solution for hearable devices. System-on-Chip (SoC) vendors, OEMs and ODMs can utilise MotionEngine Hear to deliver a frictionless user interface, gesture control, activity tracking and spatial audio for a range of smart personal audio devices, including true wireless stereo (TWS) earbuds, audio headsets, hearing aids, and AR glasses.

The software is offered for the CEVA-BX1 and CEVA-BX2 DSPs, Arm Cortex-M series and RISC-V cores that are incorporated in a broad range of Bluetooth SoCs and MCUs targeted for hearable devices. MotionEngine Hear supports a broad range of commercial accelerometers, gyroscopes and proximity sensors from the leading sensor suppliers including STMicroelectronics, Bosch-Sensortec, TDK InvenSense, and others.

MotionEngine Hear offers a large portfolio of sensor-based user interface, gesture and activity tracking features, including tap, in-ear detection, step counter, walk/run/still activity classifiers and head-tracking to enable spatial audio applications. The software has been extensively stress-tested and was benchmarked against a leading OEM’s TWS earbuds, outperforming the incumbent solution for key features including tap and double tap accuracy and in-ear detection.

The demand for TWS earbuds and other hearable devices continues to soar, with WiFore Wireless Consulting forecasting that more than 630 million devices are expected to ship by 2025. In Qualcomm’s recently published ‘State of Play Report 2020’, context awareness is identified as a key area of interest by consumers for wireless headphones and earbuds, enabling longer battery life and a better user experience through automatic adaptation to the current user activity or device state. The MotionEngine Hear software delivers sensor-based features that are essential to these context-aware devices, while requiring sub-milliamp level power draw for the whole system.

Chad Lucien, Vice President and General Manager of the Sensor Fusion Business Unit at CEVA, commented: “The use cases for TWS earbuds and other hearables now extend far beyond listening to music or making phone calls. Today’s consumers expect a more intuitive, context-aware device that incorporates features for fitness, entertainment, augmented reality and gaming.

“Our MotionEngine Hear solution addresses the major technology and performance challenges associated with adding robust, high-precision motion sensing into these devices, giving our customers the ability to innovate in this lucrative market.”

MotionEngine Hear is offered in two versions, both of which are flexible to meet customer requirements:

  • MotionEngine Hear Core
    • Enables context awareness with activity classification, including walking, running and still
    • Offers improved UI control with tap and double tap
    • Controls playback and saves power with accelerometer-only in-ear detection
    • Tracks fitness activity with step counter, activity detection, and distance and calorie estimates
    • Sensor requirement: accelerometer-only
  • MotionEngine Hear Premium – includes all the features of Core version, in addition to:
    • Essential support for spatial audio with highly accurate 3D head-tracking
    • Advanced in-ear detection using accelerometer and/or proximity detection
    • Sensor requirement: accelerometer, gyroscope and proximity sensor

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