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Simultaneous Acquisition of a Massive Number of Audio Channels through Optical Means

Sensing sound fields at multiple locations often may become considerably time consuming and expensive when large wired sensor arrays are involved. Although several techniques have been developed to reduce the number of necessary sensors, less work has been reported on efficient techniques to acquire the data from all the sensors. This paper introduces an optical system, based on the concept of visible light communication, which allows the simultaneous acquisition of audio signals from a massive number of channels via arrays of light emitting diodes (LEDs) and a high speed camera. Similar approaches use LEDs to express the sound pressure of steady state fields as a scaled luminous intensity. The proposed sensor units, in contrast, transmit optically the actual digital audio signal sampled by the microphone in real time. Experiments to illustrate two examples of typical applications are presented: a remote acoustic imaging sensor array and a spot beamforming based on the compressive sampling theory. Implementation issues are also addressed to discuss the potential scalability of the system.

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