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Dolpin Design teams for RISC-V Headphone 3.0 chips

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By Nick Flaherty


French IP developer Dolphin Design has teamed up with Sonical in the US on the design of a platform for the next generation of chips and operating system for hearables such as headphones and hearing aids.

The two companies are developing a heterogeneous computing platform using Dolphin’s AI accelerators based on the RISC-V open instruction set and Sonical’s CosmOS operating system.

The processing IP provided by Dolphin Design, a subsidiary of materials firm Soitec since 2018, includes the Raptor convolutional nueral network (CNN) accelerator and Panther, a software programmable RISC-V-based AI/DSP accelerator. These both use near-memory computing and parallel processing o provide the energy efficiency needed for hearable designs.

CosmOS supports a range of plugins and apps for headsets, earbuds and hearing aids for Headphone 3.0, which uses an ear computer and operating system to easily customise the audio experience.

“Every person has a unique hearing preference which changes during the day depending on which activity you are doing”, said Gary Spittle, the British CEO and founder of Sonical who previously worked at CSR and Dolby Labs in the UK as well as microphone specialist Knowles.

“We have developed CosmOS to support the three pillars of hearable technologies that not only allow us to listen to audio but to also listen to the world and listen to our bodies. By downloading apps for your ears, we can deliver new experiences that are beyond the capabilities of regular Bluetooth headphones,” he said.

“With the inclusion of multiple sensors for biometric data capture, we are working with ear device companies to unlock a new wave of innovation, using AI-based algorithms, which of course requires a significant amount of low-power computation. The combination of our operating system and the Dolphin Design IP will enable chip manufacturers to build state-of-the-art ear computers.”

Philippe Berger, Dolphin Design CEO added ““These new applications require disruptive computing IPs with unprecedented energy efficiency to preserve the battery lifetime of the end device. We have co-designed our new accelerators from day one, considering both the Hardware and the Software sides to propose unrivaled energy efficiency. These performances are supported by a robust deployment framework and related drivers to democratize energy-friendly ambient computing.”

www.sonical.ai; www.dolphin-design.fr/

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