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The Project AUDIENCE

Sounding with AUDIENCE

Scientific and Technological Production

Call for Works, Contributions and Opportunities

Team, Colaboration, Support, Partners, Associated Projects and Groups



Immersive Audio for Complete Virtual Reality

VR systems where the auditory experience is matched to the visual experience are considered as complete virtual reality ones. If the VR environment is immersive, as occurs in the Digital Cave where users are immersed inside a virtual scenario and have freedom to move around, the experience of complete (audio and video) virtual reality is also said immersive.

Imagine yourself moving around exotic musical instruments playing in an ancient greek arena, or the experience of creating personal orchestras and listen to them not from the auditorium, but immersed in the scene, surrounding the instruments. Virtual audiovisual experiences like this could be explored and made feasible by means of complete immersive VR, in environments such as the Digital Cave.

Most previous virtual reality systems, in special those said immersive, do not possess an efficient mechanism for auralization and sound projection in the space, capable to allow the creation (or the recreation) of a realistic sound field in the 3D space. This necessity led to the first applications segment of this project, directed towards the investigation and production of solutions for sound equipment in virtual reality.

In technologies for VR and computer graphics, the virtual environment simulation has, per many years, given priority to the production of the scene visual experience, and to the improvement of its qualitative aspects (texture, resolution, and feeling of depth). Technical problems in this context approach issues as numbers of polygons, textures rendering, pixels and voxels oriented processing, algorithms for ray tracing, and others addressing the visualization task. In respect to the sound, the sound projection in the space corresponds to the auralization, a more general terminology which extends the concept of previously used terminologies: for many years the data sonification and the sound spatialization had been more common terminologies in virtual reality applications.

It is desirable that the auralization system be based on loudspeaker (multichannel) paradigm so as to provide wider mobility and freedom for the users, who wouldn’t need headphones. However, the creation of three-dimensional sound fields mathematically and/or physically correct is a complex task, which has gained a lot attention from the scientific community in the last years, being currently a research field very active and promising, specially after the considerable growth of interest due to the popularization of the surround systems for cinema (movies) and home-theaters, known as 5.1.

5.1 and 7.1 systems (standard ITU-R BS.775)

There are several ways to develop sound spatialization solutions or auralization. Systems, as a whole, encompass from the design and development of the audio infrastructure and equipment installation, to the conception and design of applications for navigation in the 3D environment, the acoustic scene composition and control, and the choice and implementation of 3D audio coding formats, which could be several too.

In VR advanced applications, the CAVE-like environments are particularly the ones that more benefit from auralization techniques, i.e., of the emulation of a three-dimensional real sound field of one given audiovisual scene, either through loudspeakers or even using earphones, so as to allow the real sensation of the immersion in the virtual environment, and to guarantee the coupling of the 3D visual perception with the 3D auditory perception.

The first AUDIENCE system addressed this demand, making possible a system for 3D sound field production surrounding the users, and giving life to a sound scene written in a scene description language (e.g., X3D).


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