Target speech detection and separation for communication with humanoid robots in noisy home environments

Hyun Don Kim*, Jinsung Kim, Kazunori Komatani, Tetsuya Ogata, Hiroshi G. Okuno

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


People usually talk face to face when they communicate with their partner. Therefore, in robot audition, the recognition of the front talker is critical for smooth interactions. This paper presents an enhanced speech detection method for a humanoid robot that can separate and recognize speech signals originating from the front even in noisy home environments. The robot audition system consists of a new type of voice activity detection (VAD) based on the complex spectrum circle centroid (CSCC) method and a maximum signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) beamformer. This VAD based on CSCC can classify speech signals that are retrieved at the frontal region of two microphones embedded on the robot. The system works in real-time without needing training filter coefficients given in advance even in a noisy environment (SNR > 0 dB). It can cope with speech noise generated from televisions and audio devices that does not originate from the center. Experiments using a humanoid robot, SIG2, with two microphones showed that our system enhanced extracted target speech signals more than 12 dB (SNR) and the success rate of automatic speech recognition for Japanese words was increased by about 17 points.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2093-2111
Number of pages19
JournalAdvanced Robotics
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Oct 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Human-robot interaction
  • Robot audition
  • Sound source localization
  • Sound source separation
  • Voice activity detection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Science Applications


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