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A Novel Approach to Robotic Monaural Sound Localization

The paper presents a novel monaural 3D sound localization technique that robustly estimates a sound source within a 2.5° azimuth deviation and a 5° elevation deviation. The proposed system, an upgrade of monaural-based localization techniques, uses two microphones, one inserted within the ear canal of a humanoid head equipped with an artificial ear, and the second is held outside the ear, 5 cm away from the inner microphone. The outer microphone is small enough so that minimal reflections that might contribute to localization errors are introduced. The system exploits the spectral information of the signals from the two microphones in such a way that a simple correlation mechanism, using a generic set of Head Related Transfer Functions (HRTFs), is used to localize the sound sources. The low computational requirement provides a basis for robotic real-time applications. The technique was tested through extensive simulations of a noisy reverberant room. The simulation results demonstrated the capability of the monaural system to locate with high accuracy sound sources in a three-dimensional environment even in presence of strong noise and distortion.

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