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Estimating the direction of arrival (DOA) of an acoustic source relies on the successful estimation of the relative delay between pairs of microphone signals. Processing is performed at the current time by operating on blocks of recorded data. When these recordings are performed in environments of strong multipath reflections, algorithms often fail to distinguish between the true DOA and that of a dominant reflection. In this letter, we assume Gaussianity of the source signal and use an information-theoretical measure, often met in blind source separation algorithms, to derive a robust DOA estimator, even under significant reverberant conditions. We discuss the most popular algorithm for time delay estimation, namely, the generalized cross-correlation method, and demonstrate under certain conditions its connection to the proposed one. Performance is demonstrated for both algorithms with sets of simulated results as a function of different reverberation times, microphone spacing, and data block size. The results indicate that the examined framework can accurately track the DOA of a typical acoustic source.
Date of Publication: Aug. 2005