Knowles Releases AI-Enabled TWS Development Kit

By Taryn Engmark

Associate Editor

Embedded Computing Design

August 05, 2021


Knowles Releases AI-Enabled TWS Development Kit

The TWS development kit shortens the design cycle for OEMs and accelerates the timeline to bring TWS products with advanced features to market.

With Knowles Corporation's platform, OEMs have access to a fully operational TWS development kit, which includes pre-tuned and pre-configured earbuds designed by Knowles paired with a powerful Bluetooth®-enabled processing platform. The earbuds come designed with Knowles SiSonicTM MEMS Microphone Arrays, voice vibration sensors, and a choice of premium speaker driver assemblies with Knowles Balanced Armatures to drive the development of advanced TWS features while reducing time-to-market and lowering the costs associated with ground-up development.

Knowles has engaged multiple partners to integrate premium features on this development kit, which enable manufacturers to add Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), ambient mode, high definition (HD) audio, voice command, voice call algorithms, and AI-enabled conversation enhancement. 

To meet rising demands for voice quality and intelligibility, Knowles has partnered with Alango Technologies, a leading voice, hearing, and audio DSP solutions provider. Alango’s Voice Communication Package (VCP) with multi-microphone beamforming, and its OnlyVoice technology, which combines external beamforming with internal sensor-based voice processing, are both ported to the IA8201 processor. With low power consumption and memory requirements, these enable premium voice pickup for TWS devices.

Also included in the TWS kit is AITransparency+ from Chatable — the first AI specifically designed to exploit the next-generation AI processing capabilities of the IA8201 AISonic processor for “conversation enhancement.” AITransparency+ features on-chip, proprietary Deep Neural Network architectures performing over one hundred million AI calculations per second to enable selective acoustic enhancement of conversational speech signals without perceptible latency.

The processing platform is at the core of this TWS development kit, with Knowles IA8201 AISonic™ audio edge processor and Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corporation’s CXD 3781 Codec paired with a premium Bluetooth Audio System on Chip (SoC) to allow for immersive experiences and noise filtering. With high ANC and transparency performance, the design offers a flexible development platform that allows manufacturers to test their own configurations with detachable earbuds, integrate advanced features, and tune for performance and power consumption. 

The Knowles earbuds come designed with Knowles high performance Everest (SPH0690LM4H-1) digital microphones for high-quality audio capture. Everest digital microphones are built in a compact form factor to allow for flexible integration in highly space-constrained devices like TWS headsets. It provides high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and acoustic overload point (AOP) combined with wideband audio for studio grade performance and high-quality ANC. 

For HD audio output, the earbuds are designed with a hybrid driver that includes a Knowles balanced armature tweeter and a dynamic woofer. Another version comes with Knowles’ smallest full-range balanced armature driver targeting discreet form factor TWS devices.

The TWS development kit is scalable, rich, and open to customization, allowing customers to leverage pre-tuned algorithms from Knowles’ partners or quickly tune their own algorithms for other use cases.

For more information, visit Knowles and its TWS Platform page.