ListenIN: Ambient Auditory Awareness at Remote Places

Sept. 1, 2003

Vallejo, G. "ListenIN: Ambient Auditory Awareness at Remote Places"


In this thesis we propose the architecture of a modular system that allows closely related people, such as relatives and friends, to maintain awareness of a distant site, such as home, through auditory cues and eavesdropping.

While people are at work or traveling, they often want to have some degree of awarereness about activities related to family members' health and well-being. The solution that we propose is a light infrastructure system that listens into the home and in response to a change in activity (e.g. cooking, taking a shower, watching TV) sends a few seconds of audio to the caregivers providing them with background awareness of events occurring at the remote site. In order to protect privacy at the monitored site the system is designed to classify sounds and then send audio icons, pre-recorded pieces of sound representing activities (e.g. a recording of a baby crying), instead of the actual sound. However, when the classifier's confidence level is low and speech is detected, the system sends the actual sound but in a garbled way. In the absence of speech, the system simply sends the actual sound. The system takes classifying decisions based on acoustic evidence and possible location of the source. Several clients can connect to the system and simultaneously receive alerts.

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