Amazon’s gamble on voice services seems to have paid off for them. Despite heavy promotion by Google, most developers—perhaps encouraged by the existence of Amazon’s $100 million Alexa Fund—seem to have opted for an “Alexa first” strategy.
That’s meant an emergence of a lot third party hardware to support development. We’ve seen some rather expensive options and some less expensive options. Enter the Cirrus Logic Voice Capture Development Kit for Amazon AVS.
The Cirrus Logic Development Kit is another of the “more expensive” options, at $400 nobody is claiming this is a cheap way to start hacking on the Alexa Voice Service. Instead it’s intended to be a complete rapid-development platform for new product development. This development board is aimed squarely at professional embedded engineers wanting to build a new product around the Alexa service.
Despite that you should recognise at least one component of the kit, a Raspberry Pi 3. The kit also contains a voice capture board, a speaker, cabling, a micro USB power supply for the Pi, and a micro SD card preloaded with all the software needed to get started right out of the box.
The “Duet” voice capture board is a reference board—that’s a board implementing a reference architecture for a specific chip—it isn’t intended to go into a product, instead it’s there to sell you on using a certain chip in yours. In this case, it’s the Cirrus Logic CS47L24 smart codec chip.
This chip is built around a MIPS core, and among other features has a Dual Core DSP, and a 2W speaker amplifier—so that there are really no additional requirements like DACs or amplifier chips when using it. The rear of the board has two low profile Cirrus Logic 7250B digital microphones.
Cirrus Logic is hoping you’ll pick up their development, look at their reference architecture and build your own product around it—and then order thousands, or perhaps even millions, of their CS47L24 chip.
This isn’t the kit you want to get started with the Alexa Voice Service, there are plenty of other much cheaper methods. Amazon themselves even provide a step-by-step walkthrough to help you build a hands-free Alexa prototype using a Raspberry Pi. But if you’re a maker thinking about Kickstarter, or building a product around Alexa, then is a good way to evaluate the Cirrus Logic CS47L24 to see if it’s going to work for you.
If you’re interested in buying the Cirrus Logic development kit, it’s available now on DigiKey.