OKI Area Sound Enhancement System picks up only Sounds in a Target Area
OKI has developed a technology called Area Sound Enhancement System that makes it possible to pick up sounds in a target area by positioning several directional microphones. The technology lets users hear speakers’ voices in a specified area, even in acoustically cluttered environments in which several people are talking at the same time, like conference rooms or offices. In environments in which speakers’ voices overlap with other voices and ambient noise and difficulties of hearing the speakers’ voices may interfere with smooth communication. In order to solve this problem, a technology that can accurately pick up only sounds in a target area is required.
Using directional microphones such as shotgun microphones and microphone arrays can pick up sounds in specific directions, but these microphones pick up not only sounds in a target area but noises in the same direction as well because the directionality extends linearly.The Area Sound Enhancement System developed by OKI uses two microphone arrays, and crosses each directionality of arrays from different directions in a target area.
A common component in all directionalities of arrays is estimated to be a target sound, and then other components are suppressed as noises. This makes it possible to pick up only sounds in the target area and ensures clear speakers’ voices for video conferencing and other remote communication in noisy environments. The technology also allows the speakers to talk while shifting their positions and walking about, as long as they remain within the area covered by the microphone arrays. The system has wide applications beyond video conferencing, telework, and other modes of remote communication.