Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Electrical Engineering


Electrical Engineering


Xiaozheng Zhang


Automatic speech recognition (ASR) is a well-researched field of study aimed at augmenting the man-machine interface through interpretation of the spoken word. From in-car voice recognition systems to automated telephone directories, automatic speech recognition technology is becoming increasingly abundant in today’s technological world. Nonetheless, traditional audio-only ASR system performance degrades when employed in noisy environments such as moving vehicles. To improve system performance under these conditions, visual speech information can be incorporated into the ASR system, yielding what is known as audio-video speech recognition (AVASR). A majority of AVASR research focuses on lip parameters extraction within controlled environments, but these scenarios fail to meet the demanding requirements of most real-world applications. Within the visual unconstrained environment, AVASR systems must compete with constantly changing lighting conditions and background clutter as well as subject movement in three dimensions. This work proposes a robust still image lip localization algorithm capable of operating in an unconstrained visual environment, serving as a visual front end to AVASR systems. A novel Bhattacharyya-based face detection algorithm is used to compare candidate regions of interest with a unique illumination-dependent face model probability distribution function approximation. Following face detection, a lip-specific Gabor filter-based feature space is utilized to extract facial features and localize lips within the frame. Results indicate a 75% lip localization overall success rate despite the demands of the visually noisy environment.