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Making Beautiful Music With Smart MEMS Microphones

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naperlou
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Process closer to the source
naperlou   9/6/2012 9:24:25 AM
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The most significant aspect of this device is processing the data at the sensor.  This is becoming viable with integration of the ASIC and the MEMS sensor.  Until recently, wireless mics used analog signals to the receiver because the delay introduced by signal processing would be noticeable.  This is similar to the situation with smart cameras.  With the amount of processing available in embedded SOCs, much of the signal work can be done without transmitting the data.  This also allows, as in the case for the mic, real time correction of the signal, if required.  The significance of MEMS is that it can more easily be integrated with circuitry than other types of sensors.  This is the way to go.

Karen Lightman
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Re: Process closer to the source
Karen Lightman   9/6/2012 12:56:20 PM
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naperlou thanks for your post on the blog - I totally agree that "this is the way to go" and I look forward to seeing how more and more processing will be done at the sensor. I hope that more folks (like you) will read this blog and get inspired with how to integrate and design in these smart MEMS sensors into more and more applications. Thanks again! Karen  

Charles Murray
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Re: Process closer to the source
Charles Murray   9/6/2012 8:22:10 PM
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Karen, I agree that intelligence at the sensor is the future. I believe Freescale does something simular with its Xtrinsic line of sensors, doesn't it?

William K.
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Mems microphones
William K.   9/7/2012 9:58:35 AM
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The thing that makes music what it is comes from the distortions provided by the instrument. Otherwise we get somethng like the electronic music of the 1960's era. So it is not clear just exactly is meant by making things sound better through processing. Perhaps itwill be possible to compensate for the distortion from the microphone element, which could indeed offer an improvement, and it should certainly be easy to shape the frequency response to just about any curve desired. But eliminating noise without the ability to know what the noise is at any particular instant will probably have some unintended results.

The biggest advantage will be in reduced cost and smaller size, followed by a reduction in the installed cost.

So mostly it is "about the money".

naperlou
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Re: Process closer to the source
naperlou   9/7/2012 10:02:24 AM
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Chuck, you are correct!  What is interesting about these sensors is that they perform basic DSP functions right on the chip.  While many microcontrollers have built in DSP hardware these days, it is still more efficient to have that function performed at the sensor. 

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