A VR-Based Mobile Platform for Training to Non-Individualized Binaural 3D Audio
Chungeun K, Steadman M, Lestang JH, Goodman DFM, Picinali L
Audio Engineering Society (2018)
AES Convention: 144 (May 2018)
Delivery of immersive 3D audio with arbitrarily-positioned sound sources over headphones often requires processing of individual source signals through a set of Head-Related Transfer Functions (HRTFs), the direction-dependent filters that describe the propagation of sound in an anechoic environment from the source to the listener's ears. The individual morphological differences and the impracticality of HRTF measurement make it difficult to deliver completely individualized 3D audio in this manner, and instead lead to the use of previously-measured non-individual sets of HRTFs. In this study a VR-based mobile sound localization training prototype system is introduced that uses HRTF sets for audio. It consists of a mobile phone as a head-mounted device, a hand-held Bluetooth controller, and a network-enabled PC with a USB audio interface and a pair of headphones. The virtual environment was developed on the mobile phone such that the user can listen-to/navigate-in an acoustically neutral scene and locate invisible target sound sources presented at random directions using non-individualized HRTFs in repetitive sessions. Various training paradigms can be designed with this system, with performance-related feedback provided according to the user's localization accuracy, including visual indication of the target location, and some aspects of a typical first-person shooting game, such as enemies, scoring, and level advancement. An experiment was conducted using this system in which 11 subjects went through multiple training sessions, using non-individualized HRTF sets. The localization performance evaluations showed reduction of overall localization angle error over repeated training sessions, reflecting lower front-back confusion rates.