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TI's OMAP platform gains support

More and more suppliers of speech interface technology are porting their software to mobile processor platforms, thanks largely to the bigger-than-ever processing power packed into the current crop of high-end smartphones.

One of the best examples of this trend is the recent marriage of embedded speech technologies from Sensory Inc. and Texas Instruments OMAP platform. Santa Clara, Calif.-based Sensory recently announced that it has ported its Fluent Speech embedded speech engine to the Texas Instruments platform.

The OMAP platform is said to combine TI's line of low-power processors with a software infrastructure and a developer support network. According to the company, the platform was designed for developers creating apps for differentiated Internet appliances, 2.5G and 3G wireless handsets, wireless PDAs and other multimedia-enhanced devices. The Dallas-based company primed the pump in April of this year with the released of its Innovator Development Kit for OMAP, which it hoped would entice wireless developers to port their software to the OMAP processors.

Sensory's Fluent Speech product is a small-footprint voice recognition engine. The OMAP version is built into the device itself, so no network connection is required for the software to work, the company said in a recent release. Sensory's work on the OMAP platform represents its second engagement with TI, following closely on Sensory's acquisition of the TI MSP50C6xx line of ICs.

The Fluent Speech ''phonemic speaker-independent recognizer'' is part of a technology suite that includes such features as continuous digit recognition, speaker verification and support for multiple languages. Software development tools for OMAP will be added to Sensory's current Fluent Speech software development kit (SDK), according to Sensory. The Fluent Speech SDK for the OMAP platform supports TI's digital signal processor and TI-enhanced ARM9 processor in its OMAP1510 applications processor, and is compatible with the OMAP710 device.

Sensory first demonstrated the OMAP platform-optimized version of Fluent Speech on a so-called convergence phone at TI's industry analyst conference in May. According to the company, The OMAP version of Sensory's speech engine will enable voice driven user interfaces on 2.5G and 3G mobile devices.

''Smart phone and wireless PDA users will be able to take advantage of a richer communications experience with advanced speech technologies like those provided by Sensory,'' said TI marketing director Paul Werp in a statement. ''Sensory's Fluent Speech technologies offer a broad portfolio of speech algorithms that will provide mobile devices powered by TI's OMAP platform with simple, natural user interfaces.''

Sensory isn't the first speechtech vendor to port its software to the TI platform. ART (Advanced Recognition Technologies) recently ported its speech-recognition product, smARTspeak XG, to OMAP. smARTspeak XG provides embedded, speaker-independent name dialing and other command functions. The XG version is an evolution of the smARTspeak NG previously ported to the OMAP platform.

Sensory Inc. is a member of TI's OMAP Developer Network, a group of software developers writing applications for mobile Internet devices.

For more information, click on www.ti.com/sc/omapdevelopers.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at john@watersworks.com.

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