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Patexia Research
Patent No. US 11381906
Issue Date Jul 5, 2022
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Patent 11381906 - Conference system with a microphone array system and a method of speech acquisition in a conference system > Claims

  • 1. A conference system, comprising: a microphone array having a plurality of microphone capsules arranged in or on a board mountable on or in a ceiling of a conference room, wherein the microphone capsules are adapted for acquiring sound coming from the conference room; anda processing unit configured to receive output signals of the microphone capsules and to execute audio beam forming based on the received output signals of the microphone capsules for predominantly acquiring sound coming from an audio source in the conference room;wherein the processing unit comprises: a direction recognition unit configured to identify a direction of the audio source, wherein the direction recognition unit is configured to process the output signals of at least two of the microphone capsules, the processing comprising using a Steered Response Power with Phase Transform (SRP-PHAT) algorithm to calculate a score for each of a plurality of points in space that form a pre-defined search grid, and wherein the direction recognition unit outputs a direction signal indicating said direction of the audio source;a delay control unit; anda delay unit for each of the output signals of the microphone capsules, each delay unit configured to receive input from the delay control unit;wherein the delay control unit calculates individual delay values for each of the delay units according to the direction signal.
    • 2. The conference system of claim 1, wherein a point in space that has the highest score is considered a position of the audio source, and wherein the direction signal indicates the direction of said position of the audio source.
    • 3. The conference system of claim 1, wherein the plurality of points in space form substantially a hemisphere around the microphone array.
    • 4. The conference system of claim 1, wherein the board has a substantially square shape and the microphone capsules are arranged in a two-dimensional configuration that comprises two diagonals of the board.
    • 5. The conference system of claim 1, wherein the direction recognition unit processes pairwise the output signals of a multitude of pairs of the microphone capsules, wherein the multitude of pairs of the microphone capsules comprise a subset of the plurality of microphone capsules of the microphone array.
      • 6. The conference system of claim 5, wherein the direction recognition unit is configured to calculate said score based on generalized cross correlations (GCC) between input signals from each of the multitude of pairs of the microphone capsules.
    • 7. The conference system of claim 1, wherein the direction recognition unit is configured to compare the score against expected time difference of arrival (TDOA) values corresponding to said points of the search grid.
    • 8. The conference system of claim 1, wherein if the score of all points of the search grid is below a threshold, the audio beam forming keeps a previous position that gave a score above the threshold.
  • 9. A conference system, comprising: a microphone array having a plurality of microphone capsules arranged in or on a board mountable on or in a ceiling of a conference room, wherein the microphone capsules are adapted for acquiring sound coming from the conference room; anda processing unit configured to receive output signals of the microphone capsules and to execute audio beam forming based on the received output signals of the microphone capsules for predominantly acquiring sound coming from an audio source in the conference room;wherein the processing unit comprises: a direction recognition unit configured to identify a direction of the audio source, wherein the direction recognition unit is configured to process the output signals of at least two of the microphone capsules, the processing comprising using a Steered Response Power with Phase Transform (SRP-PHAT) algorithm to calculate a score for each of a plurality of points in space that form a pre-defined search grid, and wherein the direction recognition unit outputs a direction signal indicating said direction of the audio source;a delay control unit; anda delay unit for each of the output signals of the microphone capsules, each delay unit configured to receive input from the delay control unit;wherein the delay control unit calculates individual delay values for each of the delay units according to the direction signal; wherein the direction as obtained from the SRP-PHAT algorithm is a desired look direction, and wherein, if the audio beam in the desired look direction is asymmetric, the direction recognition unit is further configured for correcting the direction as obtained from the SRP-PHAT algorithm, such that a resulting look direction of the asymmetric audio beam matches the desired look direction.
    • 10. The conference system of claim 9, wherein the processing unit comprises a look-up table, and wherein the direction recognition unit is configured for modifying the direction as obtained from the SRP-PHAT algorithm according to said look-up table.
  • 11. A microphone array unit mountable on or in a ceiling of a conference room, the microphone array unit comprising: a plurality of microphone capsules arranged in or on a carrier board, wherein the microphone capsules are configured to acquire sound coming from the conference room; anda processing unit configured to receive output signals of the microphone capsules and to execute audio beam forming based on the received output signals of the microphone capsules for predominantly acquiring sound coming from an audio source in the conference room;wherein the processing unit comprises: a direction recognition unit configured to identify a direction of the audio source, wherein the direction recognition unit is configured to process the output signals of at least two of the microphone capsules, the processing comprising using a Steered Response Power with Phase Transform (SRP-PHAT) algorithm to calculate a score for each of a plurality of points in space that form a pre-defined search grid, and wherein the direction recognition unit outputs a direction signal indicating said direction of the audio source;a delay control unit; anda delay unit for each of the output signals of the microphone capsules, each delay unit configured to receive input from the delay control unit;wherein the delay control unit calculates individual delay values for each of the delay units according to said direction.
    • 12. The microphone array unit according to claim 11, wherein a point in space that has the highest score is considered a position of the audio source, and wherein the direction signal indicates the direction of said position of the audio source.
    • 13. The microphone array unit according to claim 11, wherein the plurality of points in space form substantially a hemisphere around the microphone array.
    • 14. The microphone array unit according to claim 11, wherein the board has a substantially square shape and the microphone capsules are arranged in a two-dimensional configuration that comprises two diagonals of the board.
    • 15. The microphone array unit according to claim 11, wherein the direction recognition unit processes pairwise the output signals of a multitude of pairs of the microphone capsules, wherein the multitude of pairs of the microphone capsules comprise a subset of the plurality of microphone capsules of the microphone array.
      • 16. The microphone array unit according to claim 15, wherein the direction recognition unit is configured to calculate said score based on generalized cross correlations (GCC) between input signals from each of the multitude of pairs of the microphone capsules.
    • 17. The microphone array unit according to claim 11, wherein the direction recognition unit is configured to compare the score against expected time difference of arrival (TDOA) values corresponding to said points of the search grid.
    • 18. The microphone array unit according to claim 11, wherein if the score of all points of the search grid is below a threshold, the audio beam forming keeps a previous position that gave a score above the threshold.
  • 19. A microphone array unit mountable on or in a ceiling of a conference room, the microphone array unit comprising: a plurality of microphone capsules arranged in or on a carrier board,wherein the microphone capsules are configured to acquire sound coming from the conference room; anda processing unit configured to receive output signals of the microphone capsules and to execute audio beam forming based on the received output signals of the microphone capsules for predominantly acquiring sound coming from an audio source in the conference room;wherein the processing unit comprises:a direction recognition unit configured to identify a direction of the audio source, wherein the direction recognition unit is configured to process the output signals of at least two of the microphone capsules, the processing comprising using a Steered Response Power with Phase Transform (SRP-PHAT) algorithm to calculate a score for each of a plurality of points in space that form a pre-defined search grid, and wherein the direction recognition unit outputs a direction signal indicating said direction of the audio source;a delay control unit; anda delay unit for each of the output signals of the microphone capsules, each delay unit configured to receive input from the delay control unit;wherein the delay control unit calculates individual delay values for each of the delay units according to said direction;wherein the direction as obtained from the SRP-PHAT algorithm is a desired look direction, and wherein, if the audio beam in the desired look direction is asymmetric, the direction recognition unit is further configured for correcting the direction as obtained from the SRP-PHAT algorithm, such that a resulting look direction of the asymmetric audio beam matches the desired look direction.
    • 20. The conference system of claim 19, wherein the processing unit comprises a look-up table, and wherein the direction recognition unit is configured for modifying the direction as obtained from the SRP-PHAT algorithm according to said look-up table.
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