8th European Conference on Speech Communication and Technology

Geneva, Switzerland
September 1-4, 2003


A Semi-Blind Source Separation Method for Hands-Free Speech Recognition of Multiple Talkers

Panikos Heracleous (1), Satoshi Nakamura (2), Kiyohiro Shikano (1)

(1) Nara Institute of Science and Technology, Japan
(2) ATR-SLT, Japan

In this paper, we present a beamforming based semi-blind source separation technique, which can be applied efficiently for hands-free speech recognition of multiple talkers (including moving talkers, too). The main difference from the conventional blind source separation techniques lies in the fact that the proposed method does not attempt to separate explicitly the unknown signals in a pre-processing pass before speech recognition. In fact, localization of multiple talkers, separation of the signals, and speech recognition are integrated in a single pass. Each time frame, beams formed by a delay-and-sum beamformer are steered to every direction, and speech information is extracted. A modified Viterbi formula provides n-best hypotheses for each direction and word hypotheses. At the final frame, all hypotheses are clustered based on their direction information. The clusters, which correspond to the talkers include information about the recognized speech of the multiple talkers and about their direction. Experiments for recognition of two and three talkers showed very promising results. In the case of two talkers, and using simulated clean data we achieved for `top 5' hypotheses a recognition rate of series 95.02% on average, which is very promising result.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Heracleous, Panikos / Nakamura, Satoshi / Shikano, Kiyohiro (2003): "A semi-blind source separation method for hands-free speech recognition of multiple talkers", In EUROSPEECH-2003, 509-512.