DSP-enabled Bluetooth audio IP platform for TWS earbuds, wearables

February 24, 2021 // By Rich Pell
DSP-enabled Bluetooth audio IP platform for TWS earbuds, wearables
Ultra-low-power signal processing IP provider CEVA has unveiled a highly-integrated wireless audio platform aimed at standardizing DSP-enabled Bluetooth audio IP for the fast-growing Bluetooth audio markets.

The Bluebud wireless audio hardware and software platform, says the company, solves the technology complexities of combining audio with Bluetooth and provides a drop-in solution for semiconductors and system companies targeting wireless audio applications including True Wireless Stereo (TWS) earbuds, hearables, wireless speakers, gaming headsets, smartwatches and other wearable devices.

"Consumer demand for TWS earbuds and other wireless audio devices has grown tremendously, with more diverse use cases and new features consistently being introduced," says Erez Bar-Niv, CTO of CEVA. "The Bluebud platform serves to standardize DSP-enabled Bluetooth audio IP for any semiconductor or systems company, solving the complex challenges of syncing audio packets over Bluetooth, with a drop-in IP that delivers robust, high quality Bluetooth connectivity and audio performance."

The platform combines the company's RivieraWaves Bluetooth 5.2 IP, with both Classic Audio and LE Audio, and the CEVA-BX1 audio processor, together with all the required peripherals for wireless audio, in a compact low power design, with a footprint of less than 0.5 mm2 in 22 nm. The single-core architecture reduces the overall latency from RF to audio output down to less than 20 ms, ensuring "impeccable" audio/video sync for movies and gaming.

The design also incorporates an advanced power management unit supporting idle and sleep power-down modes through sophisticated clock and voltage scaling, inherent in the fully integrated Bluetooth audio platform. The onboard CEVA-BX1 DSP along with the SenslinQ DSP software framework enables semiconductor and OEM users to seamlessly integrate differentiated, value-add software from CEVA, its ecosystem partners, or custom software, onto the Bluebud platform.

The company's optional software available for Bluebud includes ClearVox multi-microphone noise reduction and acoustic echo cancellation, WhisPro voice trigger and commands, and MotionEngine Hear for user control via tap and double tap, head tracking, in-ear detection and activity classification. For lite AI inferencing workloads, Bluebud allows users to run TinyML models such as a wake word engine to summon your voice assistant or detect sound events for contextual awareness, using native support for the Tensorflow Lite Micro neural network framework.

Key Bluebird features include:

  • Single core CEVA-BX1 processor for DSP and control simplifies SoC architecture – compared with multiple cores that are required to build similar systems
  • Self-contained - while everything from Bluetooth link control, host protocol stack, profiles and audio codecs up to the application can run on the embedded CEVA-BX1, Bluebud provides the SoC integrator the option to add a host CPU to run user applications
  • Support for Bluetooth 5.2 with both Classic Audio and LE Audio, software upgradeable to next Bluetooth version
  • Complete Classic Audio software stack, required for Bluetooth audio streaming
    • A2DP profile for music streaming, including SBC, AAC and MP3 codecs
    • HFP profile for voice call, including CVSD and mSBC codecs
  • Complete LE Audio software stack, for audio streaming over Bluetooth low energy
    • Audio profiles for voice call and music streaming, including LC3 code
  • Robust true wireless stereo connectivity for both voice calls and music streaming with low jitter / latency between left and right channels
  • Seamless bud-to-bud role-switching to maximize battery life
  • Easy and fast pairing with multi-source support, allowing buds to be connected to several devices and instantly switch between them when required

The Bluebud platform is available for licensing by end of Q1 2021.

CEVA


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