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In human-robot communication, a robot should distinguish between voices uttered by a human and those played by a loudspeaker such as on a TV or a radio. This paper addresses detection of actual human voices by using a microphone array as an extension of auditory function of the robot to support environmental understanding by the robot. We introduce a 64 ch microphone array system in a room and propose a new method based on weighted delay-and-sum beamforming to estimate a directivity pattern of a sound source. The microphone array system localizes a sound source and estimates its directivity pattern. The directivity pattern estimation has two advantages as follows: One is that the system can detect whether the sound source is an actual human voice or not by comparing the estimated directivity pattern with prerecorded directivity patterns. The other is that the heading of the sound source is estimated by detecting the angle with the highest power in the directivity pattern. As a result, we proved the effectiveness of our microphone array through sound source tracking with orientation and detection of actual human voices based on directivity pattern estimation.
Date of Conference: 2-6 Aug. 2005