Dynamic voltage scaling (DVS) is a popular energy-saving technique for real-time tasks. The effectiveness of DVS critically depends on the accuracy of workload estimation, since DVS exploits the slack or the difference between the deadline and execution time. Many existing DVS techniques are profile based and simply utilize the worst-case or average execution time without estimation. Several recent approaches recognize the importance of workload estimation and adopt statistical estimation techniques. However, these approaches still require extensive profiling to extract reliable workload statistics and furthermore cannot effectively handle time-varying workloads. Feedback-control-based adaptive algorithms have been proposed to handle such nonstationary workloads, but their results are often too sensitive to parameter selection. To overcome these limitations of existing approaches, we propose a novel workload estimation technique for DVS. This technique is based on the Kalman filter and can estimate the processing time of workloads in a robust and accurate manner by adaptively calibrating estimation error by feedback. We tested the proposed method with workloads of various characteristics extracted from eight MPEG video clips. To thoroughly evaluate the performance of our approach, we used both a cycle-accurate simulator and an XScale-based test board. Our simulation result demonstrates that the proposed technique outperforms the compared alternatives with respect to the ability to meet given timing and Quality of Service constraints. Furthermore, we found that the accuracy of our approach is almost comparable to the oracle accuracy achievable only by offline analysis. Experimental results indicate that using our approach can reduce energy consumption by 57.5% on average, only with negligible deadline miss ratio (DMR) around 6.1%. Moreover, the average of computational overheads for the proposed technique is just 0.3%, which is the minimum value compared to other met- - hods. More importantly, the DMR of our method is bounded by 11.7% in the worst case, while those of other methods are twice or more than ours.