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MEMS microphones with a difference: Revisiting a new level of directionality with Soundskrit

Back in early October (2023), ipXchange enjoyed an exciting chat with the team at Canadian/US startup Soundskrit, who have redeveloped MEMS microphones from the ground up for extreme directionality, rather than the standard omnidirectional approach.

With CES this week, and Soundskrit in attendance, let’s revisit what makes Soundskrit’s directional MEMS microphones such an interesting device for the consumer market, and something worth considering if you’re already working with audio-sensing solutions from manufacturers like Knowles, STMicroelectronics, and Infineon.

Many consumer devices use MEMS microphones to enable audio capture, whether these products are mobile or computing devices, wearables, smart devices for use in the home, or products serving a combination of these areas, such as gaming headsets.

For all these products, clear audio capture is essential, not simply for intelligibility by other humans, but also for AI to recognise key trigger words so that the human voice can be used to operate certain products – “OK, Google”, for example.

In order to provide clear audio data, standard omnidirectional MEMS microphone systems use various techniques to ensure the audio captured is fit for purpose. This includes using arrays of MEMS microphones to determine the direction of oncoming sounds and powerful processing algorithms to both isolate sound that is of interest – a.k.a. the voice of the user – and remove ambient noise that will muddy the signal, such as traffic, wind, or room ambience.

Soundskrit’s directional MEMS microphones take much of what omnidirectional MEMS microphone arrays are trying to achieve and put it at the silicon level in a single device. This reduces both the amount of space required for implementing clear, directional sound capture, as well as the processing power required to make captured audio useful.

For consumer devices – especially battery-operated ones – this is a big breakthrough in reducing the requirements for implementing audio or voice capture, thanks to the highly directional sound capture, which eliminates much of the background and ambient noise that is usually compensated for by multiple microphones and power-hungry audio processing.

Learn about the audio and electronic specifications of Soundskrit’s solutions by following the link to the board page below, where you can also see Soundskrit’s rather beautiful evaluation kit. If you’ve got a commercial project, fill in the form, and ipXchange will hook you up.

Keep designing!

Soundskrit SKR0400 (Analogue) and SKR0410 (PDM) MEMS Directional Microphones + Eval Kit

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