Environmental sounds: acquisition, analysis, and representation
Altaf, Muhammad Umair Bin
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The dissertation presents the design and development of a systematic signal analysis and representation framework beyond short-time Fourier power spectrum for sounds, in particular environmental sounds. This framework is consistent with the underlying assumptions of the analysis method and its elements are correlated with human perception. The sound signal has to conform to certain conditions for its power spectrum to have a physical and perceptual meaning. We contend that very few environmental sounds readily meet these criteria and argue that the quantities that are traditionally used to describe sounds need to be repurposed and, if necessary, redefined to represent sounds by non-Fourier means. We propose a perceptuo-analytic organization of sounds so that any environmental sound can be analyzed based on its signal characteristics and perception. We present environmental sound acquisition in the context of collection and annotation of a database for the footstep sounds, a common environmental sound, and show that it can be represented by these unconventional means and further analyzed to produce descriptions which are obscured with the traditional analysis. We present a novel application of extracting gait characteristics from the footstep sounds which is enabled by the proposed framework.