Apple Details How HomePod Can Detect 'Hey Siri' From Across a Room, Even With Loud Music Playing

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Dec 3, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot

    MacRumors

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    [​IMG]


    In a new entry in its Machine Learning Journal, Apple has detailed how Siri on the HomePod is designed to work in challenging usage scenarios, such as during loud music playback, when the user is far away from the HomePod, or when there are other active sound sources in a room, such as a TV or household appliances.

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    An overview of the task:
    To accomplish this, Apple says its audio software engineering and Siri speech teams developed a multichannel signal processing system for the HomePod that uses machine learning algorithms to remove echo and background noise and to separate simultaneous sound sources to eliminate interfering speech.

    Apple says the system uses the HomePod's six microphones and is powered continuously by its Apple A8 chip, including when the HomePod is run in its lowest power state to save energy. The multichannel filtering constantly adapts to changing noise conditions and moving talkers, according to the journal entry.

    Apple goes on to provide a very technical overview of how the HomePod mitigates echo, reverberation, and noise, which we've put into layman's terms:Echo Cancellation: Since the speakers are close to the microphones on the HomePod, music playback can be significantly louder than a user's "Hey Siri" voice command at the microphone positions, especially when the user is far away from the HomePod. To combat the resulting echo, Siri on HomePod implements a multichannel echo cancellation algorithm.
    Reverberation Removal: As the user saying "Hey Siri" moves further away from the HomePod, multiple reflections from the room create reverberation tails that decrease the quality and intelligibility of the voice command. To combat this, Siri on the HomePod continuously monitors the room characteristics and removes the late reverberation while preserving the direct and early reflection components in the microphone signals.
    Noise Reduction: Far-field speech is typically contaminated by noise from home appliances, HVAC systems, outdoor sounds entering through windows, and so forth. To combat this, the HomePod uses state-of-the-art speech enhancement methods that create a fixed filter for every utterance.
    Apple says it tested the HomePod's multichannel signal processing system in several acoustic conditions, including music and podcast playback at different levels, continuous background noise such as conversation and rain, and noises from household appliances such as a vacuum cleaner, hairdryer, and microwave.

    During its testing, Apple varied the locations of the HomePod and its test subjects to cover different use cases. For example, in living room or kitchen environments, the HomePod was placed against the wall and in the middle of the room.

    Apple's article concludes with a summary of Siri performance metrics on the HomePod, with graphs showing that Apple's multichannel signal processing system led to improved accuracy and fewer errors. Those interested in learning more can read the full entry on Apple's Machine Learning Journal.

    Article Link: Apple Details How HomePod Can Detect 'Hey Siri' From Across a Room, Even With Loud Music Playing
     
  2. thadoggfather macrumors G4

    thadoggfather

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    tl;dr its got creepy sound isolation intelligence, like HAL9000
     
  3. tromboneaholic Suspended

    tromboneaholic

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    Sounds like they are focusing on low power to also use this on wearables in the future.
     
  4. wigby macrumors 68000

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    Lip reading feature coming soon to Facebook's Portal.
     
  5. borntrouble macrumors 6502

    borntrouble

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    #5
    Hey Apple, just do me a favour and fix "Hey Siri" on iPhones. Works 1 out of 10 times.
     
  6. tromboneaholic Suspended

    tromboneaholic

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    #6
    You might need to disable the feature and then re-enable it so it runs you through the routine of training it to recognize your voice.

    My wife's iPhone recognizes her saying "Hey Siri" and mine recognizes me even when we are both in the same room with our phones next to each other on the coffee table.
     
  7. DNichter macrumors G3

    DNichter

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    #7
    This might be one of the most impressive aspects of the HomePod, much better than my Echo's ever were. I can be almost anywhere in my house (2,400 square feet) and either my upstairs or downstairs HomePod will hear me perfectly.
     
  8. benshive macrumors regular

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    Works like 99 out of 100 times for me. Maybe try setting it up again.
     
  9. MrGimper macrumors 603

    MrGimper

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  10. AngerDanger macrumors 601

    AngerDanger

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    #10
    It occurs to me that as the prospective release date of Hey-Siri-enabled AirPods gets pushed further and further back, folks can work out a temporary solution by simply attaching two HomePods to their ears.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Tec972 macrumors regular

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    #11

    Apple designer earrings!!!! LOL. Genius!!
     
  12. WoodpeckerBaby macrumors 6502

    WoodpeckerBaby

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    I thought that's kinda obvious. This technology is just a network of overarching Fourier Series.
     
  13. aquaboy macrumors regular

    aquaboy

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    #13
    Now, can you concentrate on making it smarter.... Sleep timers & wake up to playlists alarms.. How hard can it be?
     
  14. wwchris macrumors regular

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    #14
    I have multiple dots, regulars echos, echo show's etc. (10 Alexa devices total) and 3 google home devices. I can tell you that while they are better than almost everything involving voice and crush Siri, this is the one place where Homepod absolutely SMOKES them. There is zero contest. It is not at all what you are thinking, The Homepod is much louder than those other devices and even at full volume, I can speak in a normal voice without shouting over the music and it work every time. It is the best part of the Homepod and Apple nailed this part. This part really seems like magic by comparison.
     
  15. Rovank macrumors newbie

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    I wonder if they can use the results of their research to improve hearing aids. The boomers are getting older...
     
  16. citysnaps macrumors 601

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    Interesting. My success rate is 9+ times out of 10.

    You might want to schedule a trip to the Genius Bar for some help.
     
  17. b11051973 macrumors 6502

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    #17
    I turned Hey Siri off on my Homepod. I have it in my home office and it would randomly go off when I was in a conference call for work. Can't have that. I have an Alexa in my home office too, but it has a handy physical mute button on it I can press. With Homepod, you've got to dig into menues from your iPhone to disable it. So, I just leave it off.

    Unless someone knows a simple way to mute a Homepod???
     
  18. citysnaps macrumors 601

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    Seems they could with adaptive beam forming and multipath/interference cancelling. Have a feeling they're researching/working on that.
     
  19. mattopotamus macrumors G5

    mattopotamus

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    #19
    meanwhile I scream "ALEXA" at my dot that is 3 feet away.
     
  20. citysnaps macrumors 601

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    #20
    "Hey Siri stop."
     
  21. Romeo_Nightfall, Dec 3, 2018
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 4, 2018

    Romeo_Nightfall macrumors 6502

    Romeo_Nightfall

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    #21
    Sounds physically impossible what You say. Only possible when they filter the output of the voice frequencies from the music. Even then how should it hear You from far away when there’s loud music?
    But then it is an inferior speaker, all very strange info around HomePod.
     
  22. tromboneaholic Suspended

    tromboneaholic

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    #22
    Say “Hey Siri, stop listening.”

    Afterwards, tap the top and say “Hey Siri, start listening.”
    --- Post Merged, Dec 3, 2018 ---
    That's basically what this article is about. The linked blog post even has example audio files.
     
  23. ericgtr12 macrumors 65816

    ericgtr12

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    #23
    Same here, I've disable Siri completely everywhere. I was talking about a friend with my wife one day and when I picked up my phone, it had the entire conversation we had just had in a text message ready to send to the friend I was talking about. Talk about freaking me out.

    I also have the Echo and it's not nearly as obtrusive, we use it for everything now. I think for any of them, the challenge is convenience and availability vs invasion of privacy or accidental usage. The mute button on the Echo is a huge advantage for us, it's simple, turns it red and you clearly know when it's not in use.
     
  24. citysnaps, Dec 3, 2018
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 4, 2018

    citysnaps macrumors 601

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    #24
    "Only possible when they filter the output of the voice frequencies from the music."

    Nope. You might not be aware that there are voice frequencies within music. Voice and music both occupy the range of audio frequencies.


    "Even then how should it hear You from far away when there’s loud music?"

    Signal processing, cancelling output music from the microphone's input, and adaptive beam-forming. Easy. And it works so well.


    "But then it is an inferior speaker, all very strange info around HomePod"

    You might want to understand the technology and signal processing before making such a comment.
     
  25. TheShadowKnows! macrumors 6502a

    TheShadowKnows!

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    #25
    I am eagerly waiting for:

    Say "Hey Siri, stop being brain-dead"

    Because, "Hey Siri, start being brain-dead" is the default and built-in/s
     

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