ProxiMic: Convenient Voice Activation via Close-to-Mic Speech Detected by a Single Microphone


Wake-up-free techniques (e.g., Raise-to-Speak) are important for improving the voice input experience. We present ProxiMic, a close-to-mic (within 5 cm) speech sensing technique using only one microphone. With ProxiMic, a user keeps a microphone-embedded device close to the mouth and speaks directly to the device without wake-up phrases or button presses. To detect close-to-mic speech, we use the feature from pop noise observed when a user speaks and blows air onto the microphone. Sound input is first passed through a low-pass adaptive threshold filter, then analyzed by a CNN which detects subtle close-to-mic features (mainly pop noise). Our two-stage algorithm can achieve 94.1% activation recall, 12.3 False Accepts per Week per User (FAWU) with 68 KB memory size, which can run at 352 fps on the smartphone. The user study shows that ProxiMic is efficient, user-friendly, and practical.

In Proceedings of the 2021 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Mingyuan Zhong
Mingyuan Zhong
PhD Student
Computer Science & Engineering

Currectly, I conduct research in accessibility, user interface, interaction techniques, and the intersection of these areas.