Title of Invention

A METHOD AND AN APPARATUS FOR ADDING AN HANGOVER FRAMES TO A PLURALITY OF FRAMES ENCODED BY A VOCODER

Abstract It is a fist objective of the present invention to provide a method by which to reduce the probability of coding low energy unvoiced speech as background noise. The present invention determines an encoding rate by examining subbands of the input signal, by this method unvoiced speech can be distinguished from background noise. A second objective of the present invention is to provide a means by which to set the threshold levels that takes into account signal energy as well as background noise energy. In the present invention, the background noise is not used to determine threshold values, rather the signal to noise ratio of an input signal is use to determine the threshold values. A third objective of the present invention is to provide a method for coding music passing through a variable rate vocoder. The present invention examines the periodicity of the input s~gnal to distinguish music from background noise.
Full Text IMPROVED METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR SELECTING AN ENCODING RATE IN A VARIABLE RATE VOCODER
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
L Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to vocoders. More particularly, the present invention relates to a novel and improved method for determining speech encoding rate in a variable rate vocoder.
II Description of the Related Art
Variable rate speech compression systems typically use some form of rate determination algorithm before encoding begins. The rate determination algorithm assigns a higher bit rate encoding scheme to segments of the audio signal in which speech is present and a lower rate encoding scheme for silent segments. In this way a lower average bit rate will be achieved while the voice quality of the reconstructed speech will remain high. Thus to operate efficiently a variable rate speech coder requires a robust rate determination algorithm that can distinguish speech from silence in a variety of background noise envirorunents.
One such variable rate speech compression system or variable rate vocoder is disclosed in copending U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 07/713,661 filed June 11, 1991, entitled "Variable Rate Vocoder" and assigned to the assignee of the present invention, the disclosure of* which is incorporated by reference. In this particular implementation of a variable rate vocoder, input speech is encoded using Code Excited Linear Predictive Coding (CELP) techniques at one of several rates as determined by the level of speech activity. The level of speech activity is determined from the energy in the input audio samples which may contain background noise in addition to voiced speech. In order for the vocoder to provide high quality voice encoding over varying levels of background noise, an adaptively adjusting threshold technique is required to compensate for the affect of background noise on the rate decision algorithm.
-Vocoders are typically used in communication devices such as cellular telephones or personal communication devices to provide digital signal compression of an analog audio signal that is converted to digital form for transmission. In a mobile environment in which a cellular telephone or personal communication device may be used, high levels of

background noise energy make it difficult for the rate determination algorithm to distinguish low energy unvoiced sounds from background noise silence using a signal energy based rate determination algorithm. Thus unvoiced sounds frequently get encoded at lower bit rates and the voice quality becomes degraded as consonants such as "s",'x","ch"/'sh""t", etc. are lost in the reconstructed speech.
Vocoders that base rate decisions solely on the energy of background noise fail to take into account the signal strength relative to the background noise in setting threshold values. A vocoder that bases its threshold levels solely on background noise tends to compress the threshold levels together wher\ the background noise rises. If the signal level were to remain fixed this is the correct approach to setting the threshold levels, however, were the signal level to rise with the background noise level, then compressing the threshold levels is not an optimal solution. An alternative method for setting threshold levels that takes into account signal strength is needed in variable rate vocoders.
A final problem that remains arises during the playing of music through background noise energy based rate decision vocoders. When people speak, they must pause to breathe which allows the threshold levels to reset to the proper background noise level. However, m transmission of music through a vocoder, such as arises in music-on-hold conditions, no pauses occur and the threshold levels will continue rising until the music starts to be coded at a rate less than full rate. In such a condition the variable rate coder has confused music with background noise.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention is a novel and improved method and apparatus for determining an encoding rate in a variable rate vocoder. It is a fist objective of the present.invention to provide a method by which to reduce the probability of coding low energy unvoiced speech as background noise. In the present invention, the input signal is filtered into a high frequency component and a low frequency component. The filtered components of the input signal are then individually analyzed to detect the presence.of speech. Because unvoiced speech has a high frequency component its strength relative to a high frequency band is more distinct from the background noise in that band than it is compared to the background noise over the entire frequency band.

A second objective of the present invention is to provide a means by which to set the threshold levels that takes into account signal energy as well as background noise energy. In the present invention, the setting of voice detection thresholds is based upon an estimate of the sigr\al to noise ratio (SNR) of the input signal. In the exemplary embodiment, the signal energy is estimated as the maximum signal energy during times of active speech and the background noise energy is estimated as the mirumum signal energy during times of silence.
A third objective of the present invention is to provide a method for coding music passing through a variable rate vocoder. In the exemplary embodiment, the rate selection apparatus detects a number of consecutive frames over which the threshold levels have risen and checks for periodicity over that number of frames. If the input signal is periodic this would indicate the presence of music. If the presence of music is detected then the thresholds are set at levels such that the signal is coded at full rate,
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The features, objects, and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent from the detailed description set forth below when taken in conjunction with the drawings in which like reference characters identify correspondingly throughout and wherein:
Figure 1 is a block diagram of the present invention.
*
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED
EMBODIMENTS
Referring to Figure 1 the input signal, S(n), is provided to subband energy computation element 4 and subband energy computation element 6. The input signal S(n) is comprised of an audio signal and background noise. The audio signal is typically speech, but it may also be music. In the exemplary emt>odiment, S(n) is provided in twenty millisecond frames of 160 samples each, in the exemplary embodiment, input signal S(n) has frequency components from 0 kHz to 4 kHz, which is approximately the bandwidth of a human speech signal.
In the exemplary embodiment, the 4 kHz input signal, S(n), is filtered into two separate subbands. The two separate subbands lie between 0 and 2 kHz and 2 kHz and 4 kHz respectively. In an exemplary embodiment, the input signal may be divided into subbands by subband filters, the design of

which are well known in the art and detailed in U.S, Patent Application Serial No. 08/189^19 filed February 1, 1994, entitled "Frequency Selective Adaptive Filtering", and assigned to the assignee of the present invention, incorporated by reference herein.
The impulse responses of the subband filters are denoted hL(n), for the lowpass filter, and hH(n), for the highpass filter. The energy of the
resulting subband components of the signal can be computed to give the values RL(0) and RH(0)/ simply by summing the squares of the subband
filter output samples, as is well known in the art.
In a preferred embodiment, when input signal S(n) is provided to subband energy computation element 4, the energy value of the low frequency component of the input frame, RL(0), is computed as:

where L is the number taps in the lowpass filter with impulse response
hL(n),
where Rs(i) is the autocorrelation function of the input signal, S(n), given
by the equation:

where N is the number of samples in the frame,
and where RhL is the autocorrelation function of the lowpass filter hL(n)
given by:

) The high frequency energy, RH(0)/ is computed in a similar fashion in subband energy com.putation element 6.
The values of the autocorrelation function of the subband filters can be computed ahead of time to reduce the computational load. In addition, some of the computed values of Rs(l) are used in other computations in the

coding of the input signal, S(n), which further reduces the net computational burden of the encoding rate selection method of the present invention. For example, the derivation of LPC filter tap values requires the computation of a set of input signal autocorrelation coefficients.
The computation of LPC filter tap values is well known in the art and is detailed in the abovementioned U.S. Patent Application 08/004,484. If one were to code the speech with a method requiring a ten tap LPC filter only the values of Rs(i) for i values from 11 to L-1 need to be computed, in addition to those that are used in the codihg of the signal, because Rs(i) for i values from 0 to 10 are used in computing the LPC filter tap values. In the exemplary embodiment, the subban'd filters have 17 taps, L=17.
Subband energy computation element 4 provides the computed value of RL(0) to subband rate decision element 12, and subband energy computation element 6 provides the computed value of RH(0) to subband rate decision element 14, Rate decision element 12 compares the value of RL(0) against two predetermined threshold values TLI/2 and TLfull and assigns a suggested encoding rate, RATEL, in accordance with the comparison. The rate assignment is conducted as follows:

Subband rate decision element 14 operates in a similar fashion and selects a suggest encoding rate, RATEH/ in accordance with the high frequency energy value RH(0) and based upon a different set of threshold values THI/2 and THfull- Subband rate decision element 12 provides its suggested encoding rate, RATEL, to encoding rate selection element 16, and subband rate decision element 14 provides its suggested encoding rate, RATEH/ to encoding rate selection element 16. In the exemplary embodiment, encoding rate selection element 16 selects the higher of the two suggest rates and provides the higher rate as the selected ENCODING RATE.
Subband energy computation element 4 also provides the low
frequency energy value, RL(0), to threshold adaptation element-8, where the
' threshold values TLI/2 snd TLfull for the next input frame are computed.
Similarly, subband energy computation element 6 provides the high
frequency energy value, RH(0)/ to threshold adaptation element 10, where
the threshold values THI/2 and THfull for the next input frame are
computed. '

Threshold adaptation element 8 receives the low frequency energy value, RL(0)/ and determines whether S(n) contains background noise or
audio signal. In an exemplary implementation, the method by which threshold adaptation element 8 determines if an audio signal is present is by examining the normalized autocorrelation function NACF, which is given by the equation:

where e(n) is the formant residual signal that results from filtering the input signal, S(n), by an LPC filter.
The design of and filtering of a signal by an LPC filter is well known in the art and is detailed in aforementioned U.S. Patent Application 08/004,484. The input signal, S(n) is filtered by the LPC filter to remove interaction of the formants. NACF is compared against a threshold value to determine if an audio signal is present. If NACF is greater than a predetermined threshold value, it indicates that the input frame has a periodic characteristic indicative of the presence of an audio signal such as speech or music. Note that while parts of speech and music are not f>eriodic and will exhibit low values of NACF, background noise typically never displays any periodicity and nearly always exhibits low values of NACF.
If it is determined that S(n) contains background noise, the value of NACF is less than a threshold value THl, then the value RL(0) is used to update the value of the current background noise estimate BGNL- In the exemplary embodiment, THl is 0.35. RL(0) is compared against the current value of background noise estimate BGNL- If RL(0) is less than BGNL/ then the background noise estimate BGNL is set equal to RL(0) regardless of the value of NACF.
The background noise estimate BGNL is only increased when NACF is less than threshold value THl. If RL(0) is greater than BGNL and NACF is less than THl, then the background noise energy BGNL is set arBGNL/ where ai is a number greater than 1. In the exemplary embodiment, ai is equal to 1.03. BGNL will continue to increase as long as XACF is less than
threshold value THl and RL(0) is greater than the current value of BGNL,
j

until BGNL reaches a predetermined maximum value BGNmax at which point the background noise estimate BGNL is set to BGNmax-
If an audio signal is detected, signified by the value of NACF exceeding a second threshold value TH2, then the signal energy estimate, SL/ is updated. In the exemplary embodiment, TH2 is set to 0.5. The value of RL(0) is compared against a current lowpass signal energy estimate, SL- If RL(0) is greater than the current value of SL/ then SL is set equal to RL(0). If RL(0) is less than the current value of SL/ then SL is set equal to a2'SL/ again only if NACF is greater than TH2. In the exemplary embodiment, a2 is set to 0.96.
Threshold adaptation element 8 then computes a signal to noise ratio estimate in accordance with equation 8 below:

Threshold adaptation element 8 then determines an index of the quantized signal to noise ratio ISNRL in accordance with equation 9-12 below:

where nint is a function that rounds the fractional value to the nearest integer.
Threshold adaptation element 8, then selects or computes two scaling factors, kLl/2 and kLfuU/ in accordance with the signal to noise ratio index, ISNRL- An exemplary scaling value lookup table is provided in table 1 below:


These two values are used to compute the threshold values for rate selection in accordance with the equations below:

where TLI/2 is low frequency half rate threshold value and TLfuU is the low frequency full rate threshold value.
Threshold adaptation element 8 provides the adapted threshold values TL1/2 and TLfull to rate decision element 12. Threshold adaptation element 10 operates in a similar fashion and provides the threshold values THI/2 «^d THfull to subband rate decision element 14-
The initial value of the audio signal energy estimate S, where S can be SL or SH, is set as follows. The initial signal energy estimate, Snsjrr, is set to -18.0 dBmO, where 3.17 dBmO denotes the signal strength of a full sine wave, which in the exemplary embodiment is a digital sine wave with an amplitude range from -8031 to 8031. SINIT is used until it is determined
that an acoustic signal is present.
The method by which an acoustic signal is initially detected is to compare the NACF value against a threshold, when the NACF exceeds the threshold for a predetermined number consecutive frames, then an acoustic • signal is determined to be present. In the exemplary embodiment, NACF must exceed the threshold for ten consecutive frames. After this condition is met the signal energy estimate, S, is set to the maximum signal energy in the preceding ten frames.
The initial value of the background noise estimate BGN'L is initially set to BGNmax- As soon as a subband frame energy is received that is less

than BGNmax/ the background noise estimate is reset to the value of the received subband energy level, and generation of the background noise BGNL estimate proceeds as described earlier.
In a preferred embodiment a hangover condition is actuated when following a series of full rate speech frames, a frame of a lower rate is detected. In the exemplary embodiment, when four consecutive speech frames are encoded at full rate followed by a frame where ENCODING RATE is set to a rate less than full rate and the computed signal to noise ratios are less than a predetermined minimum SNR, the ENCODING RATE for that frame is set to full rate. In the exemplary embodiment the predetermined minimum SNR is 27.5 dBas defined in equation 8.
In the preferred embodiment, the number of hangover frames is a function of the signal to noise ratio. In the exemplary embodiment, the number of hangover frames is determined as follows:

The present invention also provides a method with which to detect the presence of music, which as described before lacks the pauses which allow the background noise measures to reset. The method for detecting the presence of music assumes that music is not present at the start of the call. This allows the encoding rate selection apparatus of the present invention to properly estimate and initial background noise energy, BGNixut- Because music unlike background noise has a periodic characteristic, the present invention examines the value of NACF to distinguish music from background noise. The music detection method of the present invention computes an average NACF in accordance with the equation below:

where NACF is defined in equation 7, and
where T is the number of consecutive frames in which the estimated value of the background noise has been increasing from an initial background noise estimate BGNINIT-

If the background noise BGN has been increasing for the predetermined number of frames T and NACFAVE exceeds a predetermined threshold, then music is detected and the background noise BGN is reset to BGNinit- It should be noted that to be effective the value T must be set low enough that the encoding rate doesn't drop below full rate. Therefore the value of T should be set as a function of the acoustic signal and BGNiiut-
The previous description of the preferred embodiments is provided to er\able any person skilled in the art to make or use the present invention. The various modifications to these embodiments will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art, and the generic principles defined herein may be applied to other embodiments without the use of the inventive faculty. Thus, the present invention is not intended to be limited to the embodiments shown herein but is to be accorded the widest scope consistent with the principles and novel features disclosed herein.




WE CLAIM
1. A method of adding hangover frames to a plurality of frames encoded by a vocoder, the method comprising;
detecting that a predefined number of successive frames has been encoded at a first rate;
determining that a next successive frame should be encoded at a second rate that is less than the first rate; and
selecting a number of successive hangover frames beginning with the next successive frame to encode at the first rate, the number being dependent upon an estimate of a background noise level.
2. The method of claim 1, wherein the selecting comprises selecting a number of hangover frames that is a function of a signal-to-nolse ratio.
2. The method of claim 1, wherein the detecting comprises detecting that a predefined number of successive frames has been encoded at a maximum supportable rate.
c. The method of claim 1, wherein the detecting comprises detecting that a predefined number of successive frames has been encoded at a rate intended for encoding frames classified as containing substantially active speech.
' 5. The method of claim i, wherein the determining comprises determining that a next successive frame should be encoded at a minimum supportable rate.
6, The method of claim 1, wherein the determining comprises determining that a nexl successive frame should be encoded at a rate intended for encoding frames classified as containing substantially background noise or silence.

7. The method of claim 1, further comprising generating the estimate of a background noise level.
8. The method of claim 7, further comprising computing a signal-to-nolse ratio based upon the estimate of a background noise level.
9. The method of claim 8, wherein the selecting comprises selecting a number of hangover frames that Is a function of the signal-to-noise ratio.
10. An apparatus for adding hangover frames to a plurality of frames encoded by a vocoder, the apparatus comprising:
means for detecting that a predefined number of successive frames has been encoded at a first rate;
means for detennining that a next successive frame should be encoded at a second rate that is less than the first rate; and
means for selecting a number of successive hangover frames beginning with the next successive frame to encode at the first rate, the number being dependent upon an estimate of a background noise level.
1U The apparatus of claim In, wherein the means for selecting comprises means for selecting a number of hangover frames that is a function of a signal-to-noise ratio.
12. The apparatus of claim 10. wherein the means for detecting comprises means for detecting that a predefined number of successive frames has been encoded at a maximum supportable rate.
13. The apparatus of claim 10, wherein the means for detecting comprises means for detecting that a predefined number of successive frames has been

encoded at a rate intended for encoding frames classified as containing substantially active speech.
14. The apparatus of claim 10,'wherein the means for determining comprises means for determining that a next successive frame should be encoded at a minimum supportable rate.
15. The apparatus of claim 10, wherein the means for determining comprises means for determining that a next successive frame should be encoded at a rate intended for encoding frames classified as containing substantially background noise or silence.
16. The apparatus of claim 10, further comprising means for generating the estimate of a background noise level.
17„ The apparatus of claim, 16,, further comprising means for computing a signai-to-noise ratio based upon the estimate of a background noise level.
18. The apparatus of claim 1^. wherein the means for selecting comprises means for selecting a number of hangover frames that is a function of the signal-to-noise ratio.
19. An apparatus for adding hangover frames to a plurality of frames encoded by a vocoder, the apparatus comprising;
an encoding rate selection element configured to detect that a predefined number of successive frames has been encoded at a first rate, determine that a next successive frame should be encoded at a second rate that is less than the first rate, and select a number of successive hangover frames beginning with the next successive frame to encode at the first rate, the number being dependent upon an estimate of a background noise level.

20. The apparatus of claim 19, wherein the encoding rate selection element is further configured to select a number of hangover frames that is a function of a signal-to-noise ratio.
21. The apparatus of claim 19, wherein the encoding rate selection element is further configured to detect that a predefined number of successive frames has been encoded at a maximum supportable rate.
22. The apparatus of claim 19, wherein the encoding rate selection element Is further configured to detect that a predefined number of successive frames has been encoded at a rate intended for encoding frames classified as containing substantial!/ active speech.
33. The apparatus of claim 19, wherein the encoding rate selection element Is further configured to determine that a next successive frame should be encoded at a minimum supportable rate.
24. The apparatus of claim 19. wherein the encoding rate selection element is further configured to determine that a next successive frame should be encoded at a rate intended for encoding frames classified as containing substantially background noise or silence,
25. The apparatus of claim 19, further comprising a threshold adaptation element coupled to the encoding rate selection element and configured to generate the estimate of a background noise level.
26. The apparatus of claim 25, further comprising an energy computation element coupled to the threshold adaptation element and configured to generate an estimate of a frame energy level, the threshold adaptation element being

further conficjured to receive the estimate of a frame energy level from the eriergy computation element and compute a signal-to-noise ratio based upon the estimate of a frame energy level and the estimate of a background noise level.
27. The apparatus of claim 26, wherein the encoding rate selection element is
further configured to select a number of hangover frames that Is a function of the
slgnal-to-nojse ratio.
28. A method of adding hangover fr'ames to a plurality of
frames encoded by a vocoder, substantially as herein
described with reference to the accompanying arawings,
29. An apparatus for adding hangover frames to a plurality
of frames encoded by a vocoder, substantially as herein
described with reference to the accompanying drawings.


Documents:

216-che-2003 amended claims 18-05-2011.pdf

216-CHE-2003 AMENDED CLAIMS 15-03-2011.pdf

216-che-2003 correspondence others 18-05-2011.pdf

216-che-2003 form-1 15-03-2011.pdf

216-che-2003 form-3 15-03-2011.pdf

216-CHE-2003 OTHER PATENT DOCUMENT 15-03-2011.pdf

216-che-2003 other patent document. 15-03-2011.pdf

216-CHE-2003 POWER OF ATTORNEY 15-03-2011.pdf

216-CHE-2003 CORRESPONDENCE 29-10-2010.pdf

216-che-2003 correspondence others.pdf

216-che-2003 correspondence po.pdf

216-CHE-2003 EXAMINATION REPORT REPLY RECIEVED 15-03-2011.pdf

216-che-2003-abstract.pdf

216-che-2003-claims.pdf

216-che-2003-correspondnece-others.pdf

216-che-2003-description(complete).pdf

216-che-2003-drawings.pdf

216-che-2003-form 1.pdf

216-che-2003-form 26.pdf

216-che-2003-form 3.pdf


Patent Number 247926
Indian Patent Application Number 216/CHE/2003
PG Journal Number 23/2011
Publication Date 10-Jun-2011
Grant Date 03-Jun-2011
Date of Filing 13-Mar-2003
Name of Patentee QUALCOMM INCORPORATED
Applicant Address 6455 LUSK BOULEVARD SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA 92121
Inventors:
# Inventor's Name Inventor's Address
1 ANDREW P. DEJACO 10424 FLANDERS COVE, SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA 92126,
2 WILLIAM R. GARDENER 1072 HAYES AVENUE, SAN DIEGO CA-92103
PCT International Classification Number G10L19/14
PCT International Application Number N/A
PCT International Filing date
PCT Conventions:
# PCT Application Number Date of Convention Priority Country
1 NA