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Investigating the Influence of Environmental Acoustics and Playback Device for Audio Augmented Reality Applications

Presenting plausible virtual sounds to a user is an important challenge within audio augmented reality (AAR), where virtual sounds must appear as a real part of the audio environment. Reproducing an environment’s acoustics is one step towards this, however there is limited understanding of how the spatial resolution and spectral bandwidth of such reproductions contribute to plausibility, and therefore which approaches an AAR developer should target. We present two studies comparing room impulse responses (varying in spatial resolution and spectral bandwidth) and playback devices (headphones and audio glasses) to investigate their influence on the plausibility and user perception of virtual sounds. We do so using both a listening test in a controlled environment, and then an AAR game played in two real-world locations. Our results suggest that, particularly in a real-world AAR application context, users have low sensitivity for differences between reverberation models, but that the reproduction of an environment’s acoustics positively influences the plausibility and externalisation of a virtual sound. These benefits are most pronounced when played over headphones, but users were positive about the use of audio glasses for an AAR application, despite their lower perceptual fidelity. Overall, our findings suggest both lower fidelity environmental acoustics and audio glasses are appropriate for future AAR applications, allowing developers to use less computing resources and maintain real-world awareness without compromising user experience.

 

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Permalink: https://aes2.org/publications/elibrary-page/?id=22418


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