An Alternative to Low-level-Sychrony-Based Methods for Speech Detection

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 23 (NIPS 2010)

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Javier Movellan, Paul Ruvolo


Determining whether someone is talking has applications in many areas such as speech recognition, speaker diarization, social robotics, facial expression recognition, and human computer interaction. One popular approach to this problem is audio-visual synchrony detection. A candidate speaker is deemed to be talking if the visual signal around that speaker correlates with the auditory signal. Here we show that with the proper visual features (in this case movements of various facial muscle groups), a very accurate detector of speech can be created that does not use the audio signal at all. Further we show that this person independent visual-only detector can be used to train very accurate audio-based person dependent voice models. The voice model has the advantage of being able to identify when a particular person is speaking even when they are not visible to the camera (e.g. in the case of a mobile robot). Moreover, we show that a simple sensory fusion scheme between the auditory and visual models improves performance on the task of talking detection. The work here provides dramatic evidence about the efficacy of two very different approaches to multimodal speech detection on a challenging database.