Microsoft details Cortana Wake on Voice and Far-field technology

At WinHec in December last year Microsoft revealed a push to get OEMs to support Cortana on Windows 10 better via support for wake on voice and far-field technology.

Now Microsoft has published the slide deck that goes with the talk which includes more detail on the feature.

Far-field technology would allow users to access Cortana on their PC from up to 4 metres away, much like how an Amazon Echo works now, even while music and noise is playing.

It requires a PC include a high-quality microphone which meets Microsoft speech spec 2.0.

The microphones can be linear, in a specific configuration that would allow Microsoft to discern direction, and which requires 4 microphones, or in the future circular, in what we suppose will be an Amazon-Echo-like device, using 8 microphones.

When far-field array microphones are not available other options are, including near-field (up to 0.5 m) and premium near field (up to 0.8m) for a lean-back experience.

The next important element for a good experience is Wake on Voice (WoV) from Modern Standby, which lets users wake up a device from a screen-off state to a screen-on, user-interactive state, by saying “Hey Cortana.” This feature requires your PC to be in the so-called Modern Standby (S0ix) Screen off state and have a hardware DSP with a large audio buffer.

In the future Microsoft expects the technology to work even in Standby mode, which should result in lower power consumption than S0ix.

The system supports waking on the Hey Cortana keyword in only US and UK English in far-field mode, but supports 14 languages in the near-field mode.

With the right hardware and drivers OEMs get the rest of the features for free, and Microsoft is encouraging companies to develop devices supporting this feature for Back To School 2017.

See the slide deck embedded below:

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