SAVLab – Spatial Audio Virtual Laboratory

Project summary

The 3D Tune-In (3DTI) Audio Toolkit is a comprehensive real time spatial audio rendering and hearing loss emulation library, developed in the 3D Tune-In project, funded by the European Union via the Horizon 2020 programme. This project aims at making this open source tool a reference virtual lab in spatial audio research. The project includes conducting a series of studies in the field of psychoacoustics, exploiting the 3DTI Audio Toolkit to obtain scientific results, and promoting its use by the scientific community. The proposed studies focuses on the influence of spatial audio rendering on spatial sound perception, plausibility of virtual sound sources and speech intelligibility. 

Project motivation and goals

During the last decades, spatial audio has become a very important research topic with applications in different fields, including Virtual and Augmented Reality, Audiology or Psychology. Spatial audio refers to the manipulation of sound signals to give a listener the impression that the sound is coming from specific locations in their surrounding three-dimensional space and that they are immersed in a certain acoustic environment.

In this context, headphone-based binaural rendering is particularly interesting, allowing spatial audio scenarios to be simulated at a relatively low cost. Binaural hearing refers to the ability of the auditory system to analyse the sound at the two ears, integrate the information embedded in the acoustic stimuli, and perceive sound as coming from a three-dimensional space. When binaural rendering is done in real time, the simulation can be interactive, with applications in Virtual and Augmented reality. Simulation of realistic sonic environments, combined with simulation of hearing loss and simulation of virtual hearing aids, allow for applications in psychoacoustics and audiology.

This research project studies the perception of binaurally spatialised sounds in the contexts of sonic interaction and psychoacoustics.