Nuvoton Technology Corp. introduced the ISD2360, the company’s first ChipCorder device with three-channel mixing playback and general-purpose input/output (GPIO) parallel processing. Desirable for automotive, medical-alert, instrumentation and point-of-purchase applications, the IC enables louder speaker output (1.0 W at 5 V) than comparable devices, according to the company,  and allows designs to use audio-grade digital playback of voice and/or music for up to 64 seconds—all without the need of a microcontroller. With its ability to add background sounds to forefront audio, the three-channel mixing playback in the ISD2360 enables designs to feature a deeper, richer, multi-level sound experience, along with versatility in how audio is used.  The device could be used, for example, in applications that require on-hold music and periodic spoken-word updates.  Additionally, the part’s parallel GPIO allows designs to feature complementary effects, such as driving LED lights to complement an application’s audio, without the need for additional circuitry. The ISD2360 conserves designs’ “real estate” through its ability to operate independently of a microcontroller, along with its built-in digital compression, flash storage for non-volatile audio playback of up to 30 seconds, a speaker driver, and digital audio signal paths.  Additionally, the very-low-power (<uA), easily programmable device features a sampling rate of up to 32 kHz) and a high signal-to-noise ratio of 60 dB.

Acoustic branding, touch-sensor designs

As with other members of the ChipCorder family, the ISD2360’s unprecedented blend of integration and programmability provides designers a cost-effective solution to distinguish their products with high-quality digital playback of audio-grade sound alerts and corporate audio-logo clips.  Such “acoustic branding” has already taken hold across a range of markets to reinforce brand identity – from telematics such as navigation, radar, automotive and hands-free systems to medical and industrial uses like personal-emergency-response and warning devices, instrumentation systems, and vending machines.  These markets represent the growing need for ways to efficiently convey targeted messages, tapping into users’ powerful sense of sound and memory.

The ISD2360 also complements the emerging use of touch sensors in industrial and consumer products.  The device can be activated immediately by touch sensors, thus providing alerts or other audio feedback while the full system is waking up.

Integrated design requires no microcontroller

Nuvoton engineers developed the ISD2360 to assure designers have a true single-chip solution for digital-audio playback of up to 64 seconds in applications where traditional external devices -- microcontrollers, flash memory, digital-to-analog converter, digital filters and speaker drivers – are impractical.   The device still can be used in conjunction with a host microcontroller, though once the ISD2360 is programmed, there’s no need for microcontroller intervention, and the ISD2360’s array of memory-management features make audio playback transparent to a host controller.  While the ISD2360 can be factory preprogrammed, it also may be programmed via its serial peripheral interface (SPI), in either the field or manufacturing.

The ISD2360, available in a QFN32 and SOP-16 green packaging, is sampling now, with production scheduled for Q3’2012, at $1.50 in volume quantities for the 60-second-duration version.

Nuvoton Technology Corp.