Audio recording is a typical part of covert surveillance. However, the standard technologies used such as fixed microphone arrays, shotgun microphones and parabolic microphones are useful for picking up speech from distant speakers, but limited in their use by size and position constraints. A better understanding of microphone arrays with complex geometries could enable agents to place microphones at arbitrary positions in an environment such as a restaurant under tables, on lights, chairs, or on the clothing of agents in the room just minutes before the person under surveillance enters the room.
Vis Center faculty member, Kevin Donohue, has developed a project sponsored by the Federal Bureau of Investigation focusing on developing technology that combines wireless microphones mounted statically around an area or on moving platforms with clusters of computers to provide near-real time processing for tracking the suspect’s speech and delivering intelligible speech. The goal is to provide criminal justice and law enforcement agencies with the enhanced ability to covertly record and listen to remote conversation of suspect individuals in areas where multiple conversations are ongoing.