Adaptive MEMS microphone stays asleep longer to save power

July 28, 2020 //By Peter Clarke
Adaptive MEMS microphone stays asleep longer to save power
Piezoelectric MEMS microphone developer Vesper Technologies Inc. (Boston, Mass.) is introducing the VM3011 adaptive zero power listening microphone for smart home interfaces.

The VM3011 is a further development of the VM1010 introduced in 2016 (see Wake up and listen: Vesper quiescent-sensing MEMS device innovation ). The 1010 offered so-called zero-power listening but came with an analog output. The VM3011 provides an adaptive listening function allowing it to ignore background noise and a digital output.

The adaptive function allows for a reduction in false positives and for the microphone to remain in sleep mode for longer saving power. In ZPL mode the microphone consumes 10-microamps. The wake up time from sending an interrupt through to a microcontrollers GPIO is 1 microsecond and to receive its clock signal from the microcontroller is 200-microseconds.

The adaptive refinement improves in-system power consumption by a factor of more than 10, Vesper claimed.

"Existing always-listening systems run continuously and must be plugged into an electrical outlet. The VM3011 creates a new paradign where these sytems can now run for months or years on battery power, " said Matt Crowley, CEO of Vesper, in a statement. "This technology will power a new class of products such as always-listening far field TV remotes, always-listening smartwatches, home security cameras and doorbells with extended battery life and many other systems. Vesper has already engaged with lead customers who plan to roll out products with the VM3011 later this year.:

Target applications for the VM3011 include IoT products, portable smart speakers, smartwatches, far field remote controls, security cameras, glassbreak sensors, automotive, medical devices and other battery powered systems.

Environmental Robustness: The VM3011 has native IP57 rating for operation in environmentally robust applications.  The microphone does not require any external protective mesh. This translates to saving device manufacturers’ costs, but also increases the acoustic performance of the end application.

The VM3011 has a small industry standard 3.76mm by 2.95mm by 1.3mm package. It's reflow solder compatible with no sensitivity degradation.  The VM3011 is sampling and will be available in volume production by 4Q20.

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