Tag Archives: voice control

ivee lets you control your smart home with your voice

ivee Voice will make you feel like Tony Stark in no time.

Voice recognition technology is in the house! While Amazon Echo, Google Now and Siri may’ve stolen the spotlight for voice-controlled IoT devices thus far, a new player is looking to enter the mix. The brainchild of one Bay Area startup, ivee Voice is a multi-room system that enables you to seamlessly connect all of the gadgetry and services throughout your smart home, and then command them using your words. Sounds like the ‘90s Disney flick Smart House, right?


Much like the others, ivee is a connected speaker-microphone combination that can help you boss around your in-home appliances,he lights, stream music, alert you of any traffic jams and even find answers to your inquiries on Wikipedia.

The hub, which kind of resembles an upside-down giant golf tee, is capable of processing voice requests up to 15 feet away. What’s more, commands can be customized “scenes” using an accompanying mobile app (iOS and Android). This means, you can configure phases like “bedtime” to close the blinds, dim the lights and emit some relaxing jazz music as you prepare to fall asleep. Conversely, you can set the term “party” to activate a series of multi-colored Hue lights, blast a few hip-hop tunes and unlock the front door for arriving guests. The possibilities are endless!


Not only can it tell you the weather and inform of your of your day’s agenda, ivee can play music via Spotify, summon an Uber ride, and alert fast-response emergency services for our elders. Plus, the startup says that its system is compatible with the likes of Hue, Nest, WeMo, Harmony, SmartThings and Wink, among several other of today’s most popular IoT platforms.

Standing at only five inches tall and weighing in at a pound, ivee will inconspicuously fit in — whether that’s on a nightstand, a coffee table or even somewhere near the entertainment center. The unit is built around a high-end ARM-based processor, uses Wi-Fi for communication and runs Linux. Aside from that, it is equipped with a light sensor, an LED ring, a 2.5W speaker and a pair of omnidirectional mics.

Using voice control is actually rather quick and easy. To get started, simply say “Okay ivee,” which will prompt its LEDs to illuminate in blue. From there, tell her what you need or ask your question. ivee will then process your request and voilà!


According to its creators, ivee was designed to be completely open source and flexible. And by 2016, the team hopes to launch an API that will let developers add and create their own voice applications. Interested in a Tony Stark home of your own? Head over to Ivee’s Indiegogo campaign, where the team is closing in on its $50,000 goal. Units are expected to begin shipping in April 2016.

Creating a Siri clone with an Arduino Yún

An Arduino Yún can act just like Siri, allowing users to ask it a question and get an audio response.

Over the years, voice control applications have risen in popularity with programs like Siri, Alexa, Cortana, and “OK Google” revolutionizing the way in which people interact with their mobile devices. With this in mind, Maker Bob Hammell decided to recreate the capabilities of Apple’s intelligent personal assistant using an Arduino.


An Arduino Yún (ATmega32U4) was chosen to mimic Siri, enabling users to ask it a question and to receive an audio response moments later. A Proto Shield with a pushbutton sits on top of the Internet-connected Arduino, while an audio interface plugged into the Yún’s USB socket is attached to a microphone and a battery-powered speaker.

Whenever the circuit’s pushbutton is pressed, the Arduino sketch running on the ATmega32U4 launches a Python script on the Atheros AR9331, which emits a tone promoting a user’s question. The inquiry is recorded through the microphone and saved as a WAV file. From there, the file is translated to text using AT&T’s Speech to Text API. This then gets passed into the WolframAlpha computational knowledge engine using the Temboo library, and upon receiving a response, calls another Linux command to share the answer through the speaker.

Interested? You can find out more about the project, including its source code and sketches, on the Maker’s detailed page here. Or, simply watch it in action below.

32-bit AVR MCUs for automotive applications (Part 4)

In the first part of this series, we took a closer look at how Atmel’s AVR low-power 32-bit microcontrollers (MCUs) help enable the implementation of various product-differentiating features, including advanced control algorithms, voice control and capacitive touch sensing.

We also discussed powering Atmel’s AVR UC3C 32-bit automotive-grade microcontrollers with either a 3.3V or a 5V supply  (generally supporting 5V I/O), talked about Atmel’s Peripheral Event System and explored how Atmel’s low-power 32-bit microcontrollers (MCUs) are used to help protect IP and bolster system safety.


Today we will take an in-depth look at how Atmel’s AVR low-power 32-bit microcontrollers (MCUs) help streamline automotive development. As previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, evaluating current-gen microcontroller architecture requires a complete development environment, including an evaluation kit, a software development environment with compiler and debugger, as well as a comprehensive set of application examples, drivers and services.

“[Simply put], Atmel simplifies system development with the AVR Software Framework, which supports a variety of optimized interface drivers peripheral firmware, and application code – including extensive motor control algorithms, capacitive touch drivers, advanced digital signal processing algorithms (i.e., FFTs and filters such as band-pass, high-pass, and low-pass), commonly used audio and image codecs such as MP3, speech recognition engines, display drivers, and FAT12/16/32 file systems, to name a few,” an Atmel engineering rep told Bits & Pieces.

“For automotive systems, the support with LIN and CAN software stacks, as well as with operating systems such as OSEK, and MCAL layers for the Autosar environment is mandatory. Model-based approaches for the development of automotive applications are becoming more and more popular, and these require additional support of design environments such as MATLAB/Simulink. Atmel AVR MCUs also support real-time trace, enabling full system operation visibility. Plus, updates with new features are available every quarter.”

In terms of software, the intuitive GUI-based Atmel AVR Studio is the industry’s most complete development environment for 8- and 32-bit applications, offering full compiler and debugger support for all AVR microcontrollers. Since peripherals are configured using the AVR Software Framework, migration between different AVR devices is truly seamless.

Atmel also supplies a wide range of hardware-based tools for in-system programming, debugging, and evaluation. The AT32UC3C-EK evaluation kit provides access to the extensive capabilities of the UC3C architecture with out-of-the-box simplicity, with the evaluation kit supporting Atmel QTouch capabilities.


“Specific examples of automotive applications with Atmel’s AVR UC3C include car audio, LED backlighting with a dimming function for the indicators, as well as interfaces for different types of sensors and switches to control the window lifter and the mirror positioning,” the Atmel engineering rep continued.

“Perhaps most importantly, a microcontroller such as the UC3C—with peripheral integration and extended processing capacity—allows an entire system architecture to be consolidated onto a single chip.”

Interested in learning more about 32-bit AVR MCUs for automotive applications? Be sure to check out part one, two and three of this series.

32-bit AVR MCUs for automotive applications (Part 2)

In the first part of this series, we took a closer look at how Atmel’s AVR low-power 32-bit microcontrollers (MCUs) help enable the implementation of various product-differentiating features, including advanced control algorithms, voice control and capacitive touch sensing.

We also discussed powering Atmel’s AVR UC3C 32-bit automotive-grade microcontrollers with either a 3.3V or a 5V supply (generally supporting 5V I/O). This has been achieved by moving to a modified 0.18-micron process technology, which supports higher I/O voltage levels in a reliable and cost-effective manner without any complex and expensive voltage conversion. In addition to supporting 5V I/O, the UC3C has been designed to support a wide range of high-performance peripherals required by automotive applications, including:

  • ADC: 16 channels with 12-bit resolution at up to 1.5M samples/second; dual sample and hold capabilities; built-in calibration; internal and external reference voltages.
  • DAC:  Four outputs (2 x 2 channels) with 12-bit resolution; up to 1M sample/second conversion rate with 1us settling time; flexible conversion range; one continuous or two sample/hold outputs per channel.
  • Analog comparator:  Four channels with selectable power vs. speed; selectable hysteresis (0.20mV and 50mV); flexible input selections and interrupts; window compare function by combining two comparators.
  • Timer/Counter: multiple clock sources (five internal and three external); rich feature set (counter, capture, up/down, PWM); two input/output signals per channel; global start control for synchronized operation.
  • Quadrature decoder: Integrated decoder supports direct motor rotation detection.
  • Multiple interfaces: includes a two-channel, two-wire interface (TWI), master/slave SPI, and full-featured USART that can be used as an SPI or LIN.
  • Fully integrated USB:  built-in USB 2.0 transceivers support low (1.5Mbps), full (12Mbps) and on-the-go modes; included in the AVR Software Framework are production-ready drivers for various USB devices (mass storage, HID, CDC, audio), hosts (mass storage, HID, CDC) and combined function devices.

Atmel’s AVR UC3C 32-bit automotive-grade microcontrollers are also designed to achieve higher system throughput with our Peripheral Event System.

“Managing peripherals by the CPU can become a major system bottleneck, especially as the number of peripherals and their operating frequencies increase. With high sampling rates across multiple channels, interrupt overhead and data processing can consume a large percentage of the processor’s available clock cycles,” an Atmel engineering rep told Bits & Pieces. “If the CPU load needs to manage a single SPI port even at a low data rate of 1.2Mbps, this would require 53% of the processor’s capacity. In addition, the interrupt latency increases and introduces jitter.”

And that is why AVR UC3C architecture utilizes Atmel’s peripheral event system, which allows CPU-independent handling of inter-peripheral signaling through an internal communication fabric that interconnects all peripherals. Rather than triggering an interrupt to tell the CPU to read a peripheral or port, the peripheral instead manages itself by directly transferring data to the SRAM for storage – all without requiring any action by the CPU.

“From a power perspective, only those blocks that are part of the conversion are active. The CPU is free to execute application code or conserve power in idle mode during the entire event,” the Atmel engineering rep continued. “In addition, the peripheral event controller allows a more deterministic response compared to a CPU-based, interruptdriven event controller, because the latency is fixed to 3 cycles, i.e., 33ns when operating at 66MHz. This enables precise timing of events without jitter, resulting in constant sample rates for ADCs and DACs.”

Interested in learning more about 32-bit AVR MCUs for automotive applications? Be sure to check out part three of this series which details how Atmel MCUs can be used to help protect IP and bolster system safety. Interested in learning more about 32-bit AVR MCUs for automotive applications? Be sure to check out part onetwothree and four of this series.