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 Sound system lets listeners move

This story is from the category Sensors
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Date posted: 12/08/2004

Audio is a complicated business. Our brains keep track of sounds as they move around us even when we are moving around as well. Now, researchers from the University of California at Davis have designed a relatively inexpensive spatial sound system capable of tracking both the sound, and the head movements of the user.

The headphone-based system could be used in remote listening situations like teleconferencing, surveillance and teleoperation to allow people to hear events as they happen, said Richard Duda, a research engineer at the University of California at Davis. It could also be used to make spatial audio and video recordings, and for immersive interactive multimedia like computer games, augmented reality systems, and industrial and military training, he said.

People are sensitive to how sound cues change when they turn their heads, said Duda. "When the cues all change consistently, the perception of a well-defined spatial location for the source is strong; if the cues are inconsistent, the perception can be so vague that the listener has no idea where the source is,"

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