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EYE on NPI: NXP iMX RT106L #EyeOnNPI #Adafruit @digikey @adafruit @NX...

EYE on NPI: NXP iMX RT106L #EyeOnNPI #Adafruit @digikey @adafruit @NX… #EYE #NPI #NXP #iMX #RT106L #EyeOnNPI #Adafruit #digikey #adafruit

- 3 Comments. in Technology




This week’s EYE ON NPI ( looks at a new spin on a familiar favorite! We’ve chatted before about the IMX RT10xx series of chips from NXP. These ‘cross-over’ chips are Cortex M7’s running at 500 or 600 MHz – that means you get the relative simplicity of a Cortex microcontroller with the speed and power of a microprocessor. Heck, the RT106x’s ~3000 CoreMark @ 600 MHz makes it faster for some computations when you compare it to the Raspberry Pi Zero’ ~2000 CoreMark ( – most of that due to the Linux operating system overhead. This chip family recently made its way into CircuitPython ( as we were super-excited to see such a powerful and low cost chip.

OK but back to this week’s EYE ON NPI which is a sister-chip, the iMX RT106L ( – an interesting twist to the RT1060 – this chip is licensed to use with a wake-word + voice-activation software stack. It seems like the hardware is the same, and share the same datasheets and reference manuals. So it’s more about purchasing hardware that has a licensing cost baked in – this reminds us of when we would purchase MP3 chips that had a 50 cent licensing fee built in. (

So, why is this interesting? Well, you’ve seen the proliferation of voice assistants like Siri, Google Voice and Alexa – they all use a a microcomputer, with a very powerful processor, to record audio and send it to the cloud for processing. Having to build a full computer with operating system to do voice control makes the BoM cost go up – you need a few MB of RAM, plenty of flash, a complex PMIC…what if we could do all of the processing on a really fast microcontroller instead? Like…a 600 MHz M7? Yes!

NXP’s MCU-based solution for local voice control leverages the i.MX RT106L crossover MCU, enabling developers to quickly and easily add local voice commands to their products. The ultra-small form-factor, production-ready hardware design comes with fully integrated software that runs on FreeRTOS for quick, out-of-the-box evaluation and proof-of-concept development. This turnkey solution minimizes time-to-market, risk, and development effort, enabling OEMs to easily add voice to their smart home and smart appliance products without the need for Wi-Fi and cloud connectivity while also addressing the privacy concerns of many…
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3 Comments

  1. Krzysztof Daszuta - September 12, 2020

    Looks like Teensy 4 chip.

  2. mstanley103 - September 12, 2020

    I was part of the NXP team that developed these solutions until I retired last year. I can tell you from first hand experience that a huge amount of time, money and expertise went into making hard things (voice and face recognition) easy to integrate into your design. NXP bundles custom SDKs, PCB layouts, enclosure designs and more with these devices. Thank you Adafruit for featuring the products, and to my old friends at NXP, WELL DONE!

  3. D V - September 12, 2020

    Can't wait to see what adafruit offers with these chips.

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