Renesas Unveils RISC-V MCU for Voice-controlled HMI Designs
The latest chip from Renesas adds voice recognition to the industry’s RISC-V ecosystem.
Adding another entry to the ever-growing list of RISC-V applications, Renesas has announced an addition to its RISC-V offering with what it claims is the “first” 32-bit ASSP (application-specific standard product) designed for voice-controlled human-machine interface (HMI) systems.
The new microcontroller (MCU) (part no. R9A06G150) builds on the existing RISC-V lineup from Renesas and provides designers with a cookie-cutter solution to integrating voice-control in their products.
Renesas says its new RISC-V MCU offers designers a turnkey solution to integrating voice control in their projects without sacrificing the performance of the processor. Image used courtesy of Renesas
Since its open release in 2015, RISC-V has gained popularity due to its open and collaborative nature, allowing advancements made by one group to benefit the future of the platform. As such, new products leveraging the instruction-set architecture (ISA) of RISC-V have the potential to see continual improvements in the coming years.
In order to answer questions brought about by the release of Renesas’s new HMI MCU, this article discusses the technical specs of the new chip, in addition to how the increased adoption of RISC-V in embedded design could represent a paradigm shift that would ultimately benefit designers and users alike.
Voice Recognition with RISC-V
The R9A06G150, while certainly a remarkable innovation in RISC-V computing, is not the first offering from Renesas built on the RISC-V architecture, with RZ/Five general purpose MPUs being announced over a year ago. The latest MCU from Renesas does, however, add a unique and niche functionality that is sure to be of use to a variety of designers.
The R9A06G150 sports high-performance specifications in addition to its voice HMI functionality, making it a viable option for designers wanting to include voice control. Image used courtesy of Renesas. (Click image to enlarge)
The newsworthy function included in the R9A06G150 is its turnkey voice HMI capability, allowing designers to rapidly integrate custom voice control in their devices without imposing stringent design requirements. Furthermore, Renesas has collaborated with independent designers in order to provide pre-developed software to reduce the time-to-market.
Turnkey Voice Control for Everyone
While incorporating voice control, the 32-bit MCU doesn’t sacrifice specs to provide the HMI capability. The 100 MHz CPU comes equipped with 256 KB of program flash memory, 128 KB of RAM, and 16 KB of data flash memory. More information can be found in the R9A06G150 datasheet. In addition, a slew of protocols can control the chip via an external host. A complete reference design kit with evaluation board is available for designers wanting to evaluate the performance of the MCU in their own applications.
The R9A06G150 evaluation board allows designers to jump-start development by including peripheral components on board, including analog and digital MEMS microphones. Image used courtesy of Renesas
In its product description, Renesas envisions the voice HMI being used in a variety of applications ranging from interactive toys to smart appliances, or even home-healthcare applications. In an age of improved access to information, removing barriers to entry by enabling alternative means of interacting with machines gives designers a new tool to use when developing next-generation products.
Proliferation of RISC-V
It’s no secret that, for those following embedded computing, RISC-V has slowly become a household name. And while it may still lag behind well-established architectures like x86, we are slowly seeing more and more applications emerge that place RISC-V in motor control circuits or aim to bring the ISA to the data center. The voice HMI from Renesas adds yet another application that is enabled using RISC-V, and this number of applications is only expected to grow.
Furthermore, as companies like Renesas and Microchip embrace RISC-V, the momentum of RISC-V could spark a new age of innovation in embedded systems, as open-source collaboration leads to increased competition. And, as it becomes increasingly clear that RISC-V has become inevitable, the latest Renesas offering may just be the tip of the iceberg for high-performance RISC-V processors.