Electronically steerable arrays of microphones have a variety of uses in speech data acquisition systems. Applications include teleconferencing, speech recognition and speaker identification, sound capture in adverse environments, and biomedical devices for the hearing impaired. An array of microphones has a number of advantages over a single-microphone system. It may be electronically aimed to provide a high-quality signal from a desired source location while simultaneously attenuating interfering talkers and ambient noise, does not necessitate local placement of transducers or encumber the talker with a hand-held or head-mounted microphone, and does not require physical movement to alter its direction of reception. Additionally, it has capabilities that a single microphone does not; namely automatic detection, localization and tracking of active talkers in its receptive area.
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