SOURCE: Sensory, Inc.

Sensory, Inc.

February 16, 2010 08:00 ET

Consumer Electronics to Get Natural Language Interface From New Sensory Chip

Truly Hands-Free Interfaces Now Possible With New Low-Cost Embedded Solution

SUNNYVALE, CA--(Marketwire - February 16, 2010) - Sensory, Inc., the leader in speech technologies for consumer products, today announced the release of the NLP-5x speech chip, ushering in a new era of natural language and hands-free interfaces for low-cost consumer products.

"Sensory's New NLP-5x chip is the first low-cost speech chip to offer a natural language interface," said Todd Mozer, CEO of Sensory. "The chip provides an easy-to-use, Truly Hands-Free™ experience for consumers. Manufacturers of home appliances, toys, cars, and personal electronics want to make the user experience more friendly with a very flexible speech interface, and the NLP-5x is designed precisely for this purpose."

According to Dr. William Meisel, editor of Speech Strategy News, "As consumer products add features, they become harder to use. The new Sensory chip in effect makes it cost-effective to make the user manual simply 'say what you want it to do.' It presents an opportunity for manufacturers to make their new features more than a bullet item on the sales package."

Now people can voice control products without pre-scripted phrases or button presses. Key to the NLP-5x technology suite is its ability to understand natural language within a constrained environment, and to "wake-up" from a hands-free voice trigger.

As an example of what NLP-5x can do, imagine a person setting an oven's temperature by voice. The person could say "Bake at 375 for 1 hour" or "Bake for 1 hour at 375 degrees," giving the user the flexibility of order independence.

The temperature could be said "three hundred seventy five," "three seventy five" or "three hundred and seventy five," with or without the word "degrees," adding further flexibility and enabling a more natural usage. If the person says "Cook for 45 minutes" the form-filling feature of the NLP-5x would prompt the oven to query "Bake, broil or convection heat?" and "At what temperature?"

The Truly Hands-Free "phrase spotting" allows products to be woken up and controlled by voice, so no button pressing is necessary. For example, drivers can now have full voice control over entertainment and comfort features in the vehicle, without taking either hand off the steering wheel to push a button in order to activate the device.

In addition to recognizing speech and sounds, the NLP-5x can also produce speech and sounds. It can record voice, play back canned and compressed voice prompts, or even create speech from scratch through Text-To-Speech (TTS) technology, making "eyes-free" usage without a display screen a reality. High-quality stereo music is also available with on-chip MIDI and MP3 type music playback technologies.

Third-party developers will supply algorithms for touch, motion, and presence sensing. Other algorithms for speaker verification, speaker dependent recognition, and speaker identification will also be available.

The NLP-5x includes many integrated special hardware functions for cybernetic and multi-sensor based systems to accurately interpret environmental conditions and interface with external devices.

The NLP-5x builds on Sensory's history of innovations. Sensory introduced the RSC series processors, widely considered to be the first viable speech recognition chips, in 1995. These chips perform simple command and control speech recognition and speech playback on an 8-bit microcontroller. To date, Sensory's speech chip families have sold more than 60 million units. The move from the RSC line of processors to the NLP-5x represents roughly a 5-fold increase in MIPS and RAM over the company's previous generation, and is crucial for the new features and technologies of the NLP-5x.

Target Markets. The NLP-5x targets low cost consumer electronic products, including home appliances (clocks, ovens, kitchen electronics, light switches, HVAC, remote controls, etc.), toys and robots, electronic dictionaries, personal electronics, automotive products (car kits, personal navigation devices, stereos, etc.), and musical products. In addition, Sensory sees the NLP-5x as enabling the emergence of a whole new class of home electronics called Speech Controlled Internet Devices (SCIDs), which access the internet through a Truly Hands-Free voice user interface (utilizing a client/server speech recognition system for best of breed consumer experiences), to deliver online data and information requests.

Price and availability
The NLP-5x is available now. The chip is priced at under $2 per unit in die form in volumes exceeding 100K/year.

About Sensory, Inc.
Sensory, Inc. is the leader in speech technologies for consumer products. Sensory is a venture capital-backed, privately held company offering a complete line of IC and software-only solutions for speech recognition, text-to-speech, speaker verification, music synthesis and more. The company's products are widely deployed in consumer electronics applications including Bluetooth® devices, telephones, home automation, toys, remote controls, automotive, security and learning aids. Sensory's customers represent the leaders in consumer electronics and include such companies as Adidas, Audiovox, BlueAnt, Hasbro, Hamilton Beach, Jensen, JVC, Kenwood, Mattel, Sony, Toshiba, and Uniden. Sensory, Inc. has its headquarters in Sunnyvale, Calif., with additional offices in Portland, Ore.; Hong Kong; Tokyo; and Vienna. Visit for more information.

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