Sarnoff Microphone Module Improves Sound, Adds Speakerphone & Hands-Free Functions To Cell Phones

Software Plus Multi-Microphone Array Cuts Background Noise, Picks up Voices Four Feet Away; "Acoustical Zoom" for Camcorders

PRINCETON, N.J.—(BUSINESS WIRE)—Sept. 28, 2004— A tiny module from Sarnoff Corporation (, combining a Sarnoff-designed microphone array with patented voice processing software, lets cell phone makers offer improved voice quality and a reduction of up to 10dB in background noise, and allows clear voice pickup from over four feet (1.5 m) away for hands-free situations such as car-phone conversations or speakerphone-based conferences.

The module, which also makes stereo communication possible for better localization of voices, is available for licensing from Sarnoff.

Sarnoff has teamed with Star Micronics, a major manufacturer of miniaturized devices, to supply the finished microphone array. The module's real-time voice processing software can run on a cell phone's own processor or on an optional digital signal processor (DSP) built into the array.

"Everyone complains about the voice quality of cell phones. We've done something about it," said John Aceti, Senior Director of product development for Sarnoff. "Our module isolates voices from background noise. So even if cell phone users aren't talking directly into the handset, it's easier to hear and understand them.

"It has applications beyond cell phones, too. For example, camcorders could use our module to zoom in on a subject acoustically as well as visually."

The module adds little or no size or weight to the phones, and should have minimal impact on battery life. Star Micronics, Sarnoff's manufacturing partner, can provide the module in a size and shape that fits the design of most cell phone handsets or other devices.

Performance Options Available

Sarnoff's basic multiple microphone module includes two high-quality microphones, each 4mm in diameter, spaced 25mm apart for effective stereo separation down to 1kHz. It offers a 5dB reduction in background noise.

A high-performance version adds a third, rear-facing microphone between the two forward-facing pickups. This improves background noise reduction to 10dB.

Adding the optional DSP chip does not increase the size of the module. This chip handles voice-processing functions when the manufacturer does not want to run them on the device's built-in processor.

Sarnoff's patented voice processing algorithms are the outgrowth of nearly 10 years of development. The company also has a long history of success in the design of integrated circuits and miniature electronic devices, including the world's first disposable hearing aid.

InterComm Inc.
Tom Lento, phone: 609-734-3178; fax: 609-734-2040

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