Re­search finds a way to im­merse your­self in sound us­ing tech­nol­ogy al­ready in your home

Surrey Advertiser - - Front Page -

AN ‘im­mer­sive’ ex­pe­ri­ence of games, films and mu­sic could soon be pos­si­ble in the home us­ing smart­phones, lap­tops and tablets thanks to new re­search.

Com­puter vi­sion and sound ex­perts at the Uni­ver­sity of Sur­rey have demon­strated what they call ‘me­dia de­vice or­ches­tra­tion (MDO)’ – a home au­dio con­cept which en­ables users to en­joy im­mer­sive au­dio ex­pe­ri­ences by us­ing all avail­able de­vices in a typ­i­cal liv­ing room. The MDO con­cept has been de­vel­oped at Sur­rey in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the uni­ver­si­ties of Sal­ford and Southamp­ton, and BBC Re­search & Devel­op­ment. It was pre­sented at the Au­dio Mostly con­fer­ence in Lon­don yes­ter­day (Thurs­day).

Re­searchers have demon­strated that a 3D or ‘spa­tial au­dio’ ex­pe­ri­ence can be achieved by em­ploy­ing every­day home de­vices in the liv­ing room such as a lap­top, smart­phone or wire­less min­is­peaker. The tech­nol­ogy works by iso­lat­ing dif­fer­ent ‘ob­jects’ within au­dio con­tent, such as a par­tic­u­lar voice, and con­nect­ing them to sep­a­rate speak­ers avail­able around the room. The con­cept could en­able con­sumers to en­joy films, games, pro­grammes and mu­sic in a far more im­mer­sive, mul­ti­lay­ered and ex­cit­ing way.

While it is pos­si­ble to cre­ate 3D lis­ten­ing ex­pe­ri­ences us­ing cur­rent spa­tial au­dio tech­nol­ogy, this re­quires a com­plex set-up in­volv­ing a mul­ti­tude of speak­ers lo­cated at ex­act points in re­la­tion to the lis­tener.

Be­cause of these lim­i­ta­tions, the tech­nol­ogy can­not eas­ily be repli­cated in a do­mes­tic sit­u­a­tion and is gen­er­ally lim­ited to spe­cial­ist en­vi­ron­ments such as cin­e­mas and theme park ex­pe­ri­ences.

The MDO re­search is part of the £5.4 mil­lion five-year S3A project, funded by the En­gi­neer­ing and Phys­i­cal Sci­ences Re­search Coun­cil (EPSRC), which is aimed at de­liv­er­ing a step-change in the qual­ity of au­dio con­sumed by the gen­eral pub­lic.

With the ad­vent of ad­vanced home video tech­nol­ogy such as 3D tele­vi­sion, there is a need for au­dio tech­nol­ogy to ‘catch up’ in order to match the vis­ual ex­pe­ri­ence. At the same time, the growth of vir­tual re­al­ity for video games and other ap­pli­ca­tions is cre­at­ing de­mand for a sense of sound which is all around the user.

Dr Philip Jack­son, se­nior lec­turer in ma­chine au­di­tion at Sur­rey, said: “Most con­sumer au­dio trans­mit­ted into our homes is in the form of two-chan­nel stereo which uses ba­sic prin­ci­ples that have been around for over 130 years. To date, so­phis­ti­cated multi-chan­nel au­dio tech­niques have not helped to im­prove the lis­ten­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for the gen­eral pub­lic. Our aim is to take spa­tial au­dio out of the lab and into peo­ple’s homes, and give users the im­pres­sion of be­ing at the heart of the ac­tion while in their liv­ing room.”

Dr Jon Fran­combe, re­search fel­low in spa­tial au­dio in Sur­rey’s In­sti­tute of Sound Record­ing, said: “New spa­tial au­dio meth­ods have of­ten re­quired con­sumers to buy and in­stall spe­cific sys­tems. We’re try­ing to make im­mer­sive lis­ten­ing ex­pe­ri­ences avail­able to any­one by in­tel­li­gently re-pur­pos­ing con­tent for what­ever de­vices they al­ready have avail­able. The feed­back we’ve had on our demon­stra­tions to date has been great. MDO pro­duces a lis­ten­ing ex­pe­ri­ence that’s dif­fer­ent to nor­mal sur­round sound but can be equally (if not even more) im­mer­sive.”

The MDO con­cept is be­ing de­vel­oped by the S3A team to au­to­mate the process of ‘la­belling’ sounds and con­nect­ing them with speak­ers.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.