A multimicrophone approach to speech processing in a smart-room environment

Recent advances in computer technology and speech and language processing have made possible that some new ways of person-machine communication and computer assistance to human activities start to appear feasible. Concretely, the interest on the development of new challenging applications in indoor environments equipped with multiple multimodal sensors, also known as smart-rooms, has considerably grown. In general, it is well-known that the quality of speech signals captured by microphones that can be located several meters away from the speakers is severely distorted by acoustic noise and room reverberation. In the context of the development of hands-free speech applications in smart-room environments, the use of obtrusive sensors like close-talking microphones is usually not allowed, and consequently, speech technologies must operate on the basis of distant-talking recordings. In such conditions, speech technologies that usually perform reasonably well in free of noise and ...

Abad, Alberto — Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya


Binaural Beamforming Algorithms and Parameter Estimation Methods Exploiting External Microphones

In everyday speech communication situations undesired acoustic sources, such as competing speakers and background noise, frequently lead to a decreased speech intelligibility. Over the last decades, hearing devices have evolved from simple sound amplification devices to more sophisticated devices with complex functionalities such as multi-microphone speech enhancement. Binaural beamforming algorithms are spatial filters that exploit the information captured by multiple microphones on both sides of the head of the listener. Besides reducing the undesired sources, another important objective of a binaural beamforming algorithm is the preservation of the binaural cues of all sound sources to preserve the listener's spatial impression of the acoustic scene. The aim of this thesis is to develop and evaluate advanced binaural beamforming algorithms and to incorporate one or more external microphones in a binaural hearing device configuration. The first focus is to improve state-of-the-art binaural ...

Gößling, Nico — University of Oldenburg


Multi-microphone noise reduction and dereverberation techniques for speech applications

In typical speech communication applications, such as hands-free mobile telephony, voice-controlled systems and hearing aids, the recorded microphone signals are corrupted by background noise, room reverberation and far-end echo signals. This signal degradation can lead to total unintelligibility of the speech signal and decreases the performance of automatic speech recognition systems. In this thesis several multi-microphone noise reduction and dereverberation techniques are developed. In Part I we present a Generalised Singular Value Decomposition (GSVD) based optimal filtering technique for enhancing multi-microphone speech signals which are degraded by additive coloured noise. Several techniques are presented for reducing the computational complexity and we show that the GSVD-based optimal filtering technique can be integrated into a `Generalised Sidelobe Canceller' type structure. Simulations show that the GSVD-based optimal filtering technique achieves a larger signal-to-noise ratio improvement than standard fixed and adaptive beamforming techniques and ...

Doclo, Simon — Katholieke Universiteit Leuven


Spherical Microphone Array Processing for Acoustic Parameter Estimation and Signal Enhancement

In many distant speech acquisition scenarios, such as hands-free telephony or teleconferencing, the desired speech signal is corrupted by noise and reverberation. This degrades both the speech quality and intelligibility, making communication difficult or even impossible. Speech enhancement techniques seek to mitigate these effects and extract the desired speech signal. This objective is commonly achieved through the use of microphone arrays, which take advantage of the spatial properties of the sound field in order to reduce noise and reverberation. Spherical microphone arrays, where the microphones are arranged in a spherical configuration, usually mounted on a rigid baffle, are able to analyze the sound field in three dimensions; the captured sound field can then be efficiently described in the spherical harmonic domain (SHD). In this thesis, a number of novel spherical array processing algorithms are proposed, based in the SHD. In ...

Jarrett, Daniel P. — Imperial College London


Informed spatial filters for speech enhancement

In modern devices which provide hands-free speech capturing functionality, such as hands-free communication kits and voice-controlled devices, the received speech signal at the microphones is corrupted by background noise, interfering speech signals, and room reverberation. In many practical situations, the microphones are not necessarily located near the desired source, and hence, the ratio of the desired speech power to the power of the background noise, the interfering speech, and the reverberation at the microphones can be very low, often around or even below 0 dB. In such situations, the comfort of human-to-human communication, as well as the accuracy of automatic speech recognisers for voice-controlled applications can be signi cantly degraded. Therefore, e ffective speech enhancement algorithms are required to process the microphone signals before transmitting them to the far-end side for communication, or before feeding them into a speech recognition ...

Taseska, Maja — Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg


Robust Direction-of-Arrival estimation and spatial filtering in noisy and reverberant environments

The advent of multi-microphone setups on a plethora of commercial devices in recent years has generated a newfound interest in the development of robust microphone array signal processing methods. These methods are generally used to either estimate parameters associated with acoustic scene or to extract signal(s) of interest. In most practical scenarios, the sources are located in the far-field of a microphone array where the main spatial information of interest is the direction-of-arrival (DOA) of the plane waves originating from the source positions. The focus of this thesis is to incorporate robustness against either lack of or imperfect/erroneous information regarding the DOAs of the sound sources within a microphone array signal processing framework. The DOAs of sound sources is by itself important information, however, it is most often used as a parameter for a subsequent processing method. One of the ...

Chakrabarty, Soumitro — Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg


Flexible Multi-Microphone Acquisition and Processing of Spatial Sound Using Parametric Sound Field Representations

This thesis deals with the efficient and flexible acquisition and processing of spatial sound using multiple microphones. In spatial sound acquisition and processing, we use multiple microphones to capture the sound of multiple sources being simultaneously active at a rever- berant recording side and process the sound depending on the application at the application side. Typical applications include source extraction, immersive spatial sound reproduction, or speech enhancement. A flexible sound acquisition and processing means that we can capture the sound with almost arbitrary microphone configurations without constraining the application at the ap- plication side. This means that we can realize and adjust the different applications indepen- dently of the microphone configuration used at the recording side. For example in spatial sound reproduction, where we aim at reproducing the sound such that the listener perceives the same impression as if he ...

Thiergart, Oliver — Friedrich-Alexander-Universitat Erlangen-Nurnberg


Acoustic sensor network geometry calibration and applications

In the modern world, we are increasingly surrounded by computation devices with communication links and one or more microphones. Such devices are, for example, smartphones, tablets, laptops or hearing aids. These devices can work together as nodes in an acoustic sensor network (ASN). Such networks are a growing platform that opens the possibility for many practical applications. ASN based speech enhancement, source localization, and event detection can be applied for teleconferencing, camera control, automation, or assisted living. For this kind of applications, the awareness of auditory objects and their spatial positioning are key properties. In order to provide these two kinds of information, novel methods have been developed in this thesis. Information on the type of auditory objects is provided by a novel real-time sound classification method. Information on the position of human speakers is provided by a novel localization ...

Plinge, Axel — TU Dortmund University


Adaptive filtering techniques for noise reduction and acoustic feedback cancellation in hearing aids

Understanding speech in noise and the occurrence of acoustic feedback belong to the major problems of current hearing aid users. Hence, an urgent demand exists for efficient and well-working digital signal processing algorithms that offer a solution to these issues. In this thesis we develop adaptive filtering techniques for noise reduction and acoustic feedback cancellation. Thanks to the availability of low power digital signal processors, these algorithms can be integrated in a hearing aid. Because of the ongoing miniaturization in the hearing aid industry and the growing tendency towards multi-microphone hearing aids, robustness against imperfections such as microphone mismatch, has become a major issue in the design of a noise reduction algorithm. In this thesis we propose multimicrophone noise reduction techniques that are based on multi-channel Wiener filtering (MWF). Theoretical and experimental analysis demonstrate that these MWF-based techniques are less ...

Spriet, Ann — Katholieke Universiteit Leuven


Acoustic echo reduction for multiple loudspeakers and microphones: Complexity reduction and convergence enhancement

Modern devices such as mobile phones, tablets or smart speakers are commonly equipped with several loudspeakers and microphones. If, for instance, one employs such a device for hands-free communication applications, the signals that are reproduced by the loudspeakers are propagated through the room and are inevitably acquired by the microphones. If no processing is applied, the participants in the far-end room receive delayed reverberated replicas of their own voice, which strongly degrades both speech intelligibility and user comfort. In order to prevent that so-called acoustic echoes are transmitted back to the far-end room, acoustic echo cancelers are commonly employed. The latter make use of adaptive filtering techniques to identify the propagation paths between loudspeakers and microphones. The estimated propagation paths are then employed to compute acoustic echo estimates, which are finally subtracted from the signals acquired by the microphones. In ...

Luis Valero, Maria — International Audio Laboratories Erlangen


Robust feedback cancellation algorithms for single- and multi-microphone hearing aids

When providing the necessary amplification in hearing aids, the risk of acoustic feedback is increased due to the coupling between the hearing aid loudspeaker and the hearing aid microphone(s). This acoustic feedback is often perceived as an annoying whistling or howling. Thus, to reduce the occurrence of acoustic feedback, robust and fast-acting feedback suppression algorithms are required. The main objective of this thesis is to develop and evaluate algorithms for robust and fast-acting feedback suppression in hearing aids. Specifically, we focus on enhancing the performance of adaptive filtering algorithms that estimate the feedback component in the hearing aid microphone by reducing the number of required adaptive filter coefficients and by improving the trade-off between fast convergence and good steady-state performance. Additionally, we develop fixed spatial filter design methods that can be applied in a multi-microphone earpiece.

Schepker, Henning — University of Oldenburg


Inferring Room Geometries

Determining the geometry of an acoustic enclosure using microphone arrays has become an active area of research. Knowledge gained about the acoustic environment, such as the location of reflectors, can be advantageous for applications such as sound source localization, dereverberation and adaptive echo cancellation by assisting in tracking environment changes and helping the initialization of such algorithms. A methodology to blindly infer the geometry of an acoustic enclosure by estimating the location of reflective surfaces based on acoustic measurements using an arbitrary array geometry is developed and analyzed. The starting point of this work considers a geometric constraint, valid both in two and three-dimensions, that converts time-of-arrival and time-difference-of-arrival information into elliptical constraints about the location of reflectors. Multiple constraints are combined to yield the line or plane parameters of the reflectors by minimizing a specific cost function in the ...

Filos, Jason — Imperial College London


Speech derereverberation in noisy environments using time-frequency domain signal models

Reverberation is the sum of reflected sound waves and is present in any conventional room. Speech communication devices such as mobile phones in hands-free mode, tablets, smart TVs, teleconferencing systems, hearing aids, voice-controlled systems, etc. use one or more microphones to pick up the desired speech signals. When the microphones are not in the proximity of the desired source, strong reverberation and noise can degrade the signal quality at the microphones and can impair the intelligibility and the performance of automatic speech recognizers. Therefore, it is a highly demanded task to process the microphone signals such that reverberation and noise are reduced. The process of reducing or removing reverberation from recorded signals is called dereverberation. As dereverberation is usually a completely blind problem, where the only available information are the microphone signals, and as the acoustic scenario can be non-stationary, ...

Braun, Sebastian — Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg


Robust speaker diarization for meetings

This thesis shows research performed into the topic of speaker diarization for meeting rooms. It looks into the algorithms and the implementation of an offline speaker segmentation and clustering system for a meeting recording where usually more than one microphone is available. The main research and system implementation has been done while visiting the International Computes Science Institute (ICSI, Berkeley, California) for a period of two years. Speaker diarization is a well studied topic on the domain of broadcast news recordings. Most of the proposed systems involve some sort of hierarchical clustering of the data into clusters, where the optimum number of speakers of their identities are unknown a priory. A very commonly used method is called bottom-up clustering, where multiple initial clusters are iteratively merged until the optimum number of clusters is reached, according to some stopping criterion. Such ...

Anguera, Xavier — Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya


Auditory Inspired Methods for Multiple Speaker Localization and Tracking Using a Circular Microphone Array

This thesis presents a new approach to the problem of localizing and tracking multiple acoustic sources using a microphone array. The use of microphone arrays offers enhancements of speech signals recorded in meeting rooms and office spaces. A common solution for speech enhancement in realistic environments with ambient noise and multi-path propagation is the application of so-called beamforming techniques, that enhance signals at the desired angle, using constructive interference, while attenuating signals coming from other directions, by destructive interference. Such beamforming algorithms require as prior knowledge the source location. Therefore, source localization and tracking algorithms are an integral part of such a system. However, conventional localization algorithms deteriorate in realistic scenarios with multiple concurrent speakers. In contrast to conventional localization algorithms, the localization algorithm presented in this thesis makes use of fundamental frequency or pitch information of speech signals in ...

Habib, Tania — Signal Processing and Speech Communication Laboratory, Graz University of Technology, Austria

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