Sunday, August 14, 2005

Zarlink Targets Voice Processing with Echo Cancellers

Zarlink Semiconductor introduced the first in a family of voice processing chips aimed at improving voice quality and reducing noise in hands-free communication devices. Hands-free technology is a key requirement in a wide range of communication systems, such as security networks, desktop phones, conference phones and PDAs.

Hands-free communication systems are often hindered by acoustic echo that is created when the voice from the loudspeaker in a car kit or conference phone, for example, is picked up by the microphone and retransmitted. Mobile network delays also make acoustic echo more noticeable. To compensate, hands-free systems previously used lower performance voice processing technologies that supported only half-duplex operation.

Zarlink's new chip uses an advanced adaptive algorithm that constantly tracks and reduces background noise while preserving high voice quality. Voice signals are transmitted in both directions. The chip utilizes an advanced non-linear process design supporting full-duplex speech with no switched loss of the signal path. Zarlink's algorithm design operates during double-talk situations when both callers are speaking at the same time.

Zarlink said a leading manufacturer has already designed the new acoustic echo canceller technology into a hands-free car phone system.

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