Speech Technology Magazine

 

OKI Develops Area Sound System That Filters Ambient Noise

Technology can be used in preprocessing for improved speech recognition rates.
Posted Apr 21, 2015
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OKI Electric has developed the Area Sound Enhancement System that makes it possible to pick up sounds in a target area by positioning several directional microphones. The technology lets users hear speakers' voices in a specified area, even in acoustically cluttered environments where several people are talking at the same time, like conference rooms or offices.

The Area Sound Enhancement System developed by OKI uses two microphone arrays and crosses each directionality of arrays from different directions in a target area. A common component in all directionalities of arrays is estimated to be a target sound, and then other components are suppressed as noises. This makes it possible to pick up only sounds in the target area and ensures clear speakers' voices for video conferencing and other remote communication in noisy environments. The technology also allows the speakers to talk while shifting their positions and walking about, as long as they remain within the area covered by the microphone arrays.

The area sound activity detection function makes it possible to pick up sounds only when they are generated within the target area.

The system has wide applications beyond video conferencing, telework, and other modes of remote communication. Some examples include the following:

  • Hands-free conversations without an echo and a howling.
  • Preprocessing for improved speech recognition rates (car navigation systems, devices for taking the meeting minutes automatically).
  • Picking up sounds in noisy environments (at exhibition sites, plants, ticket handling machines at railway stations).
  • Use in areas where privacy and security are critical (banks, contact centers).

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