Estimation of the effect of head worn devices on horizontal localization

In our current research, Pedro Lladó (PhD student), Petteri Hyvärinen (Postdoc), and Professor Ville Pullki from Aalto Acoustics Lab,  are studying the effect of head worn devices (HWDs) on sound source localization. In the context of augmented reality, a good understanding of our surrounding is vital so we need to keep the sound as natural as possible. For that reason, if we use a headset that distorts the real world sound entering to our ears, we may lose the ability to localize sounds correctly and that may have an effect on the perceived quality of experience.

At the beginning of this year, we successfully conducted a subjective listening experiment using a ring of loudspeakers to measure the perceived effect on sound localization wearing several HWDs. On the other hand, we characterized these HWDs by recording the sounds from the subjective experiment with the help of a dummy head. These recorded sounds were processed using an auditory model, that is a computational emulation of the hearing system. A neural network was trained to estimate subjective data from the listening experiment using the output of the auditory model. With this technique, we could evaluate the effect of a HWD when we don’t have subjective evaluation data for this device. This method could work as a tool to help manufacturers and developers to evaluate their products when they cannot be tested, for example during prototyping phase or when time and/or money makes a subjective test not feasible.

We are currently working on the results from both listening experiment and computational model and we are looking forward to share our results soon.

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