Sound Projectors Deliver Audio to People Where They Want It for Virtual Reality

Delivering Spatial Sound

What if a commercial audio speaker could function like an autozoom projector does for light, and you could deliver the sound people want where they want it? Chinmay Rajguru, from the University of Sussex, will discuss his research team’s work creating a sound projector that can deliver spatial sound at a distance by forming a beam of audible sound. Credit: Rajguru

Sound projectors provide an alternative to headphones for use in virtual reality and augmented reality simulations and for other contexts where it is helpful to direct sound to only those people who want it.

What if a commercial audio speaker could function like an autozoom projector does for light, and you could deliver the sound people want where they want it?

Chinmay Rajguru, from the University of Sussex, will discuss his research team’s work creating a sound projector that can deliver spatial sound at a distance by forming a beam of audible sound.

The session, “A spatial sound delivery system for virtual and augmented reality,” will take place December 8 at 11:40 a.m. Eastern U.S. as part of the 179th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, which will be held virtually Dec. 7-10.

The researchers wanted to investigate an alternative to headphones for use in virtual and augmented reality simulations, where sound increasingly plays a central role. With headphones, however, users cannot interact directly with the outside world. The device they created consisted of a portable speaker, and two metamaterial lenses of different focal length arranged in a telescope.

“Our system tracks the user through the camera and sends sound to the user,” said Rajguru. They delivered signals between 5 to 6 kilohertz and achieved a 20-centimeter accuracy delivering sound.

They benchmarked the performance of the system with measurements and a pilot study with human participants. They also connected the projector to a VR headset to show how it can be used to deliver messages in VR.

The researchers found large and empty rooms work best for their technology, because understanding the direction of sound can be more difficult in smaller rooms due to reverberation. Using tracking hardware, a Kinect which they borrowed from video game console, they were able to cover a 4- by 4-meter space in the real world, which can be used to give the impression of covering even larger spaces in the VR simulation.

Delivering directional sound could have broad applications, such as at hospitals to deliver notifications in a specific ward without disturbing other patients or in airports providing sound to a section or a moving individual about the status of their flight.

Meeting: 179th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America

2 Comments on "Sound Projectors Deliver Audio to People Where They Want It for Virtual Reality"

  1. I was just reading about this on Wikipedia last month. Old tech, I thought. Or is this a new method? This article is a bit thin on details…

  2. Sekar Vedaraman | December 16, 2020 at 1:42 pm | Reply

    I am looking forward to a technology where such a “technology conntrolled environmental temperature” is develivered to different occupants in the same meeting in a conference room based on their body temperature and propensity for best individual functioning! A thought for Air Conditioning and Temperature Control Organizations and companies. Bet you it will be a new hot cake seller especiallyin tropical nations with hot and humid whether or hot and dry places , which appear to begrowing rapidly thanks to our successful ability to raise the ambient temperature!

    Extend the thinking to producing intelligent lighting systems where in a large open work space with a huge team of workers collaborating only the cubicles which have occupants whose body temperature canbe monitored using advanced sensor and thermal temperaturs detectors of a human body, the appropriate ergonomic lighting would come on and lumens required delivered and switched off automatically and minimise energy consumption without requests and commands.

    Reimagining and reinventing the products and services of the future using technology based solutions! May become a basic requirement for a world where Virus’s rule and root causes for addressing the same is not addressed as far as inffectivity is concerned, even if a Vaccine is used to neutralize the current C-19 virus. Permanent protective equipment like masks and PPE suits culd well become the norm.

    Well ,I guess Cloth manufacturing will have to be retooled to manufacture Masks and PPE suits for all functional activites of humans!! Both an opportunity and a threat. Reinventing clothing ( even designer fashion ones) and creating a whole range of varying margin creations using a different set of materials which are virus resistent/virus repellant for future viruses. When one industry disappears, another one will emerge to replae it to meet both human need , human Wants, and human Greed!.

    Creative-Destruction is alive and well. As is Strategic Dissonance which is the greatest threat to Industrial enterprises. The Needs for comfort and a better ife and a bettef world is unlikely to change.

    Opinions expressed are personal and not binding on anyone.

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