Search Disaster Victims using Sound Source Localization

Localizing humans by sound is useful during a time of disaster where there is a lack of visibility. However, current approaches have difficulties in transferring theoretical methods to a real-life scenario. Therefore, they cannot reach the accuracy of the human auditory system. A recent paper on arXiv.org presents sound source localization using the grid search method.

Image credit: UN Photo/Logan Abassi United Nations Development Programme

It implements a cubical microphone array on an omni-directional drive for inspection and monitoring of the disaster area. The unique microphone configuration allows significant improvement in robust localization compared with currently used two-microphone arrays.

The suggested approach predicts both the azimuth and elevation angle of the human voice with less error and provides an almost accurate position of the source. Therefore, it may help to rescue human casualties.

Sound Source Localization (SSL) are used to estimate the position of sound sources. Various methods have been used for detecting sound and its localization. This paper presents a system for stationary sound source localization by cubical microphone array consisting of eight microphones placed on four vertical adjacent faces which is mounted on three wheel omni-directional drive for the inspection and monitoring of the disaster victims in disaster areas. The proposed method localizes sound source on a 3D space by grid search method using Generalized Cross Correlation Phase Transform (GCC-PHAT) which is robust when operating in real life scenario where there is lack of visibility. The computed azimuth and elevation angle of victimized human voice are fed to embedded omni-directional drive system which navigates the vehicle automatically towards the stationary sound source.

Research paper: Khanal, A., “Search Disaster Victims using Sound Source Localization”, 2021. Link: https://arxiv.org/abs/2103.06049

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