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Date: 22-12-11

Audio recording and playback SoC chip based on ARM Cortex M0

Nuvoton Technology has introduced audio recording and playback system-on-a-chip (SOC) IC featuing a 32-bit ARM Cortex-M0 microcontroller core. The ISD9160 is designed to optimize low-power audio recording and playback in a range of demanding industrial applications, such as portable medical devices, security systems, and public transit vehicles, as well as consumer designs, including wireless audio, capacitive button sensing for touch panels, home appliances, toys, and novelty items.

Nuvoton says with a Cortex-M0 core running at up to 50MHz,sophisticated power-management features, embedded Flash and SRAM memory, real-time clock (RTC) control, and multiple general-purpose IOs (GPIOs), the ISD9160 enables designers to develop systems and individual products capable of delivering clear, reliable, easily managed audio recording and playback.

The ISD9160 enables consumer products to carry branding messages. This enables manufacturers to distinguish their products with high-quality digital playback of audio-grade sound alerts and corporate audio-logo clips, according to Nuvoton.

"The ChipCorder ISD9160's ARM core and highly integrated analog features makes it ideal for recording and playback, capacitive button sensing and other demanding audio applications," said Farid Noory, senior product marketing manager at Nuvoton. "Its architecture assures manufacturers spanning multiple industrial and consumer market segments that they're designing with a SoC with all the essential features for economical yet powerful audio-based products."

The ISD9160 incorporates several audio interfaces - microphone, speaker driver and I 2S - and eight analog GPIOs for capacitive sensing and analog functions. It also features five power-saving modes that enable the device to operate under differing voltage allowances, making it ideal for portable/battery-powered products. Taking advantage of the Cortex-M0's processing engine, the ISD9160 also enables applications with CPU-intensive features, such as voice recognition, audio/voice prompting, and extended recording/playback.

The ARM Cortex-M0 in the ISD9160 delivers 32-bit performance and low power consumption, but at a price point of an 8-bit microcontroller. Its 32-bit architecture enables designers to develop complicated algorithms such as voice recognition, text-to-speech and capacitive sensing - applications that at one time required DSPs and/or other high-end, ARM-based devices.

ISD9160 Highlights
ARM Cortex-M0 core (up to 50MHz)
Power management (wide voltage range; four levels of power control; sub- µ A deep-power-down, wake-up, standby with RTC <6 µ A, processor sleep modes)
On-chip memory (145K Flash, 12K SRAM)
Clock control ( 48/32MHz built-in trimmed and ultra-low power 10kHz oscillators, 32 kHz RTC crystal interface)
GPIOs (four IO modes, selectable input, switchable pull-up)
Analog-to-digital converter (16-bit output, 80dB signal-to-noise ratio, programmable-gain and microphone-boost amplifiers and programmable bi-quad filter)
Differential audio output (Class-D direct speaker driver delivers 1watt in to an 8ohm speaker at 5V)
Automatic level control (programmable gain/boost amplifiers up to 61dB, microphone- and speaker-sharing for BOM reduction)
Timers (two, with 8-bit pre-scaler and 24-bit resolution)
Watch dog timer (configurable on/off setting, multiple clock sources, and eight selectable time-out periods)
RTC counter (alarm registers, selectable 12- or 24-hour mode, automatic leap year recognition
Hardware cyclic redundancy check, or CRC (for detecting and correcting errors in wireless audio transmission)
Ports (UART, SPI, I 2C, I 2C)
Optional external memory interfaces (SPI Flash, SD card)
Wide application range ( portable medical devices such as talking glucose meters, glass-break sensors for security systems, voice prompting in public transit vehicles, wireless microphones and baby monitors, capacitive button sensing for touch panels, voice prompting/alerts in home appliances, voice commands in talking toys, key fob recording, branded novelty items)

Pricing, Availability

The ISD9160 is sampling now, with production scheduled for early Q4'11, and priced at $2.50 in volume.

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