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LOUD: A 1020-Node Modular Microphone Array and Beamformer for Intelligent Computing Spaces

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Technical Report

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge United States

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Ubiquitous computing environments are characterized by an unbounded amount of noise and crosstalk. In these environments, traditional methods of sound capture are insufficient, and array microphones are needed in order to obtain a clean recording of desired speech. In this work, we have designed, implemented, and tested LOUD, a novel 1020-node microphone array utilizing the Raw tile parallel processor architecture1 for computation. To the best of our knowledge, this is currently the largest microphone array in the world. We have explored the uses of the array within ubiquitous computing scenarios by implementing an acoustic beamforming algorithm for sound source amplification in a noisy environment, and have obtained preliminary results demonstrating the efficacy of the array. From one to 1020 microphones, we have shown a13.7dB increase in peak SNR on a representative utterance, an 87.2 drop in word error rate with interferer present, and an 89.6 drop in WER without an interferer.

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