TI Aims For Better Quality In Hands-Free

Texas Instruments and Clarity Technologies, Inc. have announced a joint effort to improve the audio quality of hands-free devices for wireless communications.

From the TI press release:

Bringing unprecedented audio quality to consumer cellular, phone and handset products, Texas Instruments (TI) and Clarity Technologies, Inc., a global provider of award winning noise and echo cancellation software for mobile devices, today announced the Hands-Free Kit (HFK) Development Platform, a complete digital signal processor (DSP)-based platform providing real-time voice and audio-enhancing algorithms, enabling developers to drive higher quality audio products to market faster while reducing cost.  Please see www.ti.com/hfknr.

Worldwide, the importance of hands-free technology to improve safety while driving is reflected by legislation in 43 U.S. states, 90 percent of the European market and many other countries.  Currently, consumer choice in the after-market hands-free accessory market is limited to poor audio quality self-installed units ($15 to $70) and professionally installed high-quality kits ($300+).  Using the HFK Development Platform based on TI’s TMS320C5407 DSP, developers can achieve superior audio quality and differentiate hands-free designs with customized features at a lower price point by leveraging the programmability and flexibility inherent in DSP technology.  For instance, using the HFK Development Platform and Clarity software, developers can create more convenient self-installed kits for 40 to 60 percent less than a custom kit with the same high quality audio.

Included in the HFK Development Platform is Clarity’s award winning CVC® (Clear Voice Capture) noise and echo suppression software, CVC.  CVC provides natural sounding voice quality in high noise environments by eliminating background noise, while improving voice quality and speech recognition accuracy.

“Integrating CVC into TI’s HFK Development Platform makes it easy to add noise and echo suppression to any product design,” said Jim Wargnier, executive vice president engineering, Clarity Technologies, Inc.  “This results in significantly enhanced voice quality and performance while addressing lower costs to improve the design’s ROI.”

Tuned for automotive applications, the HFK has an FM transmitter so a caller’s voice can be heard through the car sound system, eliminating the need for an external speaker.  Integrated algorithms enable full duplex conversation with superior noise reduction.  A key element of the HFK is the robust supply power, which protects the electronics from the noise and spikes of a vehicle’s 12V battery. 

The HFK Development Platform includes:

  • Full-duplex speaker phone;

  • Line out, on-board microphone;

  • .5mm microphone jack;

  • JTAG emulator;

  • User programmable interface (3 LEDs, 3 push buttons); and

  • Bluetooth daughtercard connector.

Because the hands-free application has been fully integrated, developers can immediately focus on product differentiation.  With 50 percent headroom on the C5407 DSP, developers can add a wide range of differentiating features to the baseline design, such as an LCD display, Bluetooth connectivity and advanced speech recognition, as well as quickly integrate other functionality and algorithms available through TI’s extensive network of more than 650 third-party developers.

“Integrating hardware and software, the HFK Development Platform provides developers a complete solution for quickly developing quality, hands-free kit systems,” said Mathew Divjak, HFK marketing manager, TI.  “Moreover, the platform’s easy-to-use, open development environment will enable developers to easily incorporate advanced features and functionality and to truly differentiate their products.”

Pricing and Availability

Available today from Avnet and Arrow or the TI E-store, the HFK Development Platform (TDMSHFK5407) is priced at $1,495 and includes the C5407 DSP motherboard, power supply, a comprehensive board support package with full schematics used for immediate development, application notes, user guides and Code Composer Studio (CC Studio) library examples.  Developers must have access to CC Studio v2.2, a JTAG emulator, amplified speaker and a microphone.