The Open Speech Signal Processing Platform Web Portal

IHCON 2016 White Paper

The Hardware Platform
The hardware platform is based on the latest SoC FPGAs from Altera where SoC stands for System-on-Chip and FPGA is an acronym for Field Programmable Gate Arrays. FPGAs are among the largest silicon devices manufactured and SoC FPGAs mark the beginning of the Integrated-Systems era.



FPGAs allow deterministic low-latency signal processing, which is impossible with standard computer architectures. For a description as to why this is the case, click here. In the FPGA fabric, a custom computer architecture can be crafted for the targeted signal processing algorithm, utilizing thousands of multipliers and adders running in parallel. Future FPGAs will continue to be at the performance forefront being fabbed with Intel’s latest process geometry. If FPGAs are new to you, click here for an introduction to FPGAs.



The Software Platform
Applications can be created to run on top of Linux, which is running on the dual ARM CPUs. These software applications can interact with custom hardware that has been implemented in the FPGA fabric.

Audio I/O
Daughter cards with all the standard audio I/O interfaces will be created, such as the audio interfaces shown below to the right. The cards will plug into the targeted FPGAs board shown below. The platform will provide an audio “Rosetta Stone” where audio signals coming from one source can be translated in real-time and sent to an audio sink with a different interface and audio format.

Targeted FPGA Boards

Low Cost Board

Terassic DE0-Nano-SOC
Linux Support

Mid Range Board

Cyclone V System-on-Module
Example SoM Linux Support

High Performance Board
1.5 TFLOPs

Arria 10 SoC Development Kit
Linux Support


FPGA Development Support

Our commercial partner Impulse Accelerated Technologies, Inc. will provide their C-to-FPGA compiler tools at a substantial discount to the academic speech and audio community. These tools will help make FPGA development accessible to C programmers who are not computer engineering hardware designers.

Development Bundles

We aim to sell development bundles that will provide working out-of-the-box examples that includes FPGA boards, audio interface cards, development tools, and reference designs. These bundles will provide a working system that can be customized to a particular research objective.


Reference Platforms

Reference designs will be created  on the targeted FPGA boards that developers can use to get started.  A couple of the reference designs are showed below that will be developed.

Open Hearing Aid Processor


Open Cochlear Processor

 (Cochlear Processor figure from Marsman 2006)



Community Requests

The web site will have a section where the speech community can see what is currently being worked on development-wise.   The community will be able to request features and help inform development priorities.


Community Contributed Projects

The web site will have a section where the speech community can post their open source projects that wil include completed projects and designs, which can be downloaded and run on the FPGA boards. This will facilitate comparisons of algorithms.  

Are you interested?

Tell us if you are interested in a development bundle or a particular reference design that we should create as part of the reference platform bundle. Please send inquiries to:


About Flat Earth

Flat Earth was founded in 2006 in Bozeman Montana, specializing in electronic hardware and software product development in the fields of Ultra-Wide Band RADAR, Field Programmable Gate Arrays, GPS Navigation, Digital Signal Processing (DSP), and general 3rd party contract development. Today, Flat Earth develops products in a multitude of market sectors including health care, scientific instrumentation, agriculture, energy management sensing, marine-metrics, and consumer electronics.

Flat Earth core competencies come from 9 years (43 years cumulative) of experience in hardware design, software design (embedded and DSP), FPGA design and development, antenna design, prototype design, product assembly and small scale manufacturing. Our most valued competency is the ability to draw from these disciplines and combine them into successful product development campaigns.







Marsman, E. D., et al. (2006) DSP architecture for cochlear implants." ISCAS 2006.