skip to main content


Title: Move2Hear: Active Audio-Visual Source Separation
We introduce the active audio-visual source separation problem, where an agent must move intelligently in order to better isolate the sounds coming from an object of interest in its environment. The agent hears multiple audio sources simultaneously (e.g., a person speaking down the hall in a noisy household) and it must use its eyes and ears to automatically separate out the sounds originating from a target object within a limited time budget. Towards this goal, we introduce a reinforcement learning approach that trains movement policies controlling the agent’s camera and microphone placement over time, guided by the improvement in predicted audio separation quality. We demonstrate our approach in scenarios motivated by both augmented reality (system is already co-located with the target object) and mobile robotics (agent begins arbitrarily far from the target object). Using state-of-the-art realistic audio-visual simulations in 3D environments, we demonstrate our model’s ability to find minimal movement sequences with maximal payoff for audio source separation.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
2120430
NSF-PAR ID:
10376661
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
IEEE/CVF International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV)
Page Range / eLocation ID:
275 to 285
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. The way an object looks and sounds provide complementary reflections of its physical properties. In many settings cues from vision and audition arrive asynchronously but must be integrated, as when we hear an object dropped on the floor and then must find it. In this paper, we introduce a setting in which to study multi-modal object localization in 3D virtual environments. An object is dropped somewhere in a room. An embodied robot agent, equipped with a camera and microphone, must determine what object has been dropped -- and where -- by combining audio and visual signals with knowledge of the underlying physics. To study this problem, we have generated a large-scale dataset -- the Fallen Objects dataset -- that includes 8000 instances of 30 physical object categories in 64 rooms. The dataset uses the ThreeDWorld Platform that can simulate physics-based impact sounds and complex physical interactions between objects in a photorealistic setting. As a first step toward addressing this challenge, we develop a set of embodied agent baselines, based on imitation learning, reinforcement learning, and modular planning, and perform an in-depth analysis of the challenge of this new task. 
    more » « less
  2. As augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) technology matures, a method is desired to represent real-world persons visually and aurally in a virtual scene with high fidelity to craft an immersive and realistic user experience. Current technologies leverage camera and depth sensors to render visual representations of subjects through avatars, and microphone arrays are employed to localize and separate high-quality subject audio through beamforming. However, challenges remain in both realms. In the visual domain, avatars can only map key features (e.g., pose, expression) to a predetermined model, rendering them incapable of capturing the subjects’ full details. Alternatively, high-resolution point clouds can be utilized to represent human subjects. However, such three-dimensional data is computationally expensive to process. In the realm of audio, sound source separation requires prior knowledge of the subjects’ locations. However, it may take unacceptably long for sound source localization algorithms to provide this knowledge, which can still be error-prone, especially with moving objects. These challenges make it difficult for AR systems to produce real-time, high-fidelity representations of human subjects for applications such as AR/VR conferencing that mandate negligible system latency. We present Acuity, a real-time system capable of creating high-fidelity representations of human subjects in a virtual scene both visually and aurally. Acuity isolates subjects from high-resolution input point clouds. It reduces the processing overhead by performing background subtraction at a coarse resolution, then applying the detected bounding boxes to fine-grained point clouds. Meanwhile, Acuity leverages an audiovisual sensor fusion approach to expedite sound source separation. The estimated object location in the visual domain guides the acoustic pipeline to isolate the subjects’ voices without running sound source localization. Our results demonstrate that Acuity can isolate multiple subjects’ high-quality point clouds with a maximum latency of 70 ms and average throughput of over 25 fps, while separating audio in less than 30 ms. We provide the source code of Acuity at: https://github.com/nesl/Acuity. 
    more » « less
  3. Mechanical search is a robotic problem where a robot needs to retrieve a target item that is partially or fully occluded from its camera. State-of-the-art approaches for mechanical search either require an expensive search process to find the target item, or they require the item to be tagged with a radio frequency identification tag (e.g., RFID), making their approach beneficial only to tagged items in the environment. We present FuseBot, the first robotic system for RF-Visual mechanical search that enables efficient retrieval of both RFtagged and untagged items in a pile. Rather than requiring all target items in a pile to be RF-tagged, FuseBot leverages the mere existence of an RF-tagged item in the pile to benefit both tagged and untagged items. Our design introduces two key innovations. The first is RF-Visual Mapping, a technique that identifies and locates RF-tagged items in a pile and uses this information to construct an RF-Visual occupancy distribution map. The second is RF-Visual Extraction, a policy formulated as an optimization problem that minimizes the number of actions required to extract the target object by accounting for the probabilistic occupancy distribution, the expected grasp quality, and the expected information gain from future actions. We built a real-time end-to-end prototype of our system on a UR5e robotic arm with in-hand vision and RF perception modules. We conducted over 180 real-world experimental trials to evaluate FuseBot and compare its performance to a of-the-art vision-based system named X-Ray. Our experimental results demonstrate that FuseBot outperforms X-Ray’s efficiency by more than 40% in terms of the number of actions required for successful mechanical search. Furthermore, in comparison to X-Ray’s success rate of 84%, FuseBot achieves a success rate of 95% in retrieving untagged items, demonstrating for the first time that the benefits of RF perception extend beyond tagged objects in the mechanical search problem. 
    more » « less
  4. The discrimination of complex sounds is a fundamental function of the auditory system. This operation must be robust in the presence of noise and acoustic clutter. Echolocating bats are auditory specialists that discriminate sonar objects in acoustically complex environments. Bats produce brief signals, interrupted by periods of silence, rendering echo snapshots of sonar objects. Sonar object discrimination requires that bats process spatially and temporally overlapping echoes to make split-second decisions. The mechanisms that enable this discrimination are not well understood, particularly in complex environments. We explored the neural underpinnings of sonar object discrimination in the presence of acoustic scattering caused by physical clutter. We performed electrophysiological recordings in the inferior colliculus of awake big brown bats, to broadcasts of prerecorded echoes from physical objects. We acquired single unit responses to echoes and discovered a subpopulation of IC neurons that encode acoustic features that can be used to discriminate between sonar objects. We further investigated the effects of environmental clutter on this population’s encoding of acoustic features. We discovered that the effect of background clutter on sonar object discrimination is highly variable and depends on object properties and target-clutter spatiotemporal separation. In many conditions, clutter impaired discrimination of sonar objects. However, in some instances clutter enhanced acoustic features of echo returns, enabling higher levels of discrimination. This finding suggests that environmental clutter may augment acoustic cues used for sonar target discrimination and provides further evidence in a growing body of literature that noise is not universally detrimental to sensory encoding. 
    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    Advances in visual perceptual tasks have been mainly driven by the amount, and types, of annotations of large-scale datasets. Researchers have focused on fully-supervised settings to train models using offline epoch-based schemes. Despite the evident advancements, limitations and cost of manually annotated datasets have hindered further development for event perceptual tasks, such as detection and localization of objects and events in videos. The problem is more apparent in zoological applications due to the scarcity of annotations and length of videos-most videos are at most ten minutes long. Inspired by cognitive theories, we present a self-supervised perceptual prediction framework to tackle the problem of temporal event segmentation by building a stable representation of event-related objects. The approach is simple but effective. We rely on LSTM predictions of high-level features computed by a standard deep learning backbone. For spatial segmentation, the stable representation of the object is used by an attention mechanism to filter the input features before the prediction step. The self-learned attention maps effectively localize the object as a side effect of perceptual prediction. We demonstrate our approach on long videos from continuous wildlife video monitoring, spanning multiple days at 25 FPS. We aim to facilitate automated ethogramming by detecting and localizing events without the need for labels. Our approach is trained in an online manner on streaming input and requires only a single pass through the video, with no separate training set. Given the lack of long and realistic (includes real-world challenges) datasets, we introduce a new wildlife video dataset–nest monitoring of the Kagu (a flightless bird from New Caledonia)–to benchmark our approach. Our dataset features a video from 10 days (over 23 million frames) of continuous monitoring of the Kagu in its natural habitat. We annotate every frame with bounding boxes and event labels. Additionally, each frame is annotated with time-of-day and illumination conditions. We will make the dataset, which is the first of its kind, and the code available to the research community. We find that the approach significantly outperforms other self-supervised, traditional (e.g., Optical Flow, Background Subtraction) and NN-based (e.g., PA-DPC, DINO, iBOT), baselines and performs on par with supervised boundary detection approaches (i.e., PC). At a recall rate of 80%, our best performing model detects one false positive activity every 50 min of training. On average, we at least double the performance of self-supervised approaches for spatial segmentation. Additionally, we show that our approach is robust to various environmental conditions (e.g., moving shadows). We also benchmark the framework on other datasets (i.e., Kinetics-GEBD, TAPOS) from different domains to demonstrate its generalizability. The data and code are available on our project page:https://aix.eng.usf.edu/research_automated_ethogramming.html

     
    more » « less