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Wireless Communications and Mobile Computing
Volume 2017, Article ID 3956282, 24 pages
Review Article

A Survey of Sound Source Localization Methods in Wireless Acoustic Sensor Networks

1Department of Computer Science, Universitat de València, 46100 Burjassot, Spain
2Dipartimento di Elettronica, Informazione e Bioingegneria, Politecnico di Milano, 20133 Milano, Italy
3Institute of Computer Science (ICS), Foundation for Research & Technology-Hellas (FORTH), Heraklion, 70013 Crete, Greece
4Department of Computer Science, University of Crete, Heraklion, 70013 Crete, Greece
5Department of Electronic Engineering, Inha University, Incheon 22212, Republic of Korea

Correspondence should be addressed to Maximo Cobos;

Received 18 May 2017; Accepted 28 June 2017; Published 17 August 2017

Academic Editor: Álvaro Marco

Copyright © 2017 Maximo Cobos et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Wireless acoustic sensor networks (WASNs) are formed by a distributed group of acoustic-sensing devices featuring audio playing and recording capabilities. Current mobile computing platforms offer great possibilities for the design of audio-related applications involving acoustic-sensing nodes. In this context, acoustic source localization is one of the application domains that have attracted the most attention of the research community along the last decades. In general terms, the localization of acoustic sources can be achieved by studying energy and temporal and/or directional features from the incoming sound at different microphones and using a suitable model that relates those features with the spatial location of the source (or sources) of interest. This paper reviews common approaches for source localization in WASNs that are focused on different types of acoustic features, namely, the energy of the incoming signals, their time of arrival (TOA) or time difference of arrival (TDOA), the direction of arrival (DOA), and the steered response power (SRP) resulting from combining multiple microphone signals. Additionally, we discuss methods not only aimed at localizing acoustic sources but also designed to locate the nodes themselves in the network. Finally, we discuss current challenges and frontiers in this field.