SHORTLISTED for the Excellence in Engineering Design Award
Cross-talk cancellation technology for virtual reality applications
Group MembersDaniel Bennett, Charles Berkeley, Ioseb Laghidze, Jonathan Phillips, Benjamin Shrimpton
SupervisorsDr Filippo Fazi, Dr Marcos Gálvez
Over the past decade, developments in virtual reality (VR) have made it possible to present thoroughly convincing and immersive environments to the end user. High-end devices such as the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive have made VR platforms accessible at home, with consumer demand rising alongside developer content. However, these systems currently rely on intrusive, wearable devices to deliver their content – a dependency that interferes with the realism of the experience. To overcome this, several companies today are researching and developing non-obtrusive technologies – such room-scale holograms and haptic feedback systems - to provide more authentic experiences to consumers. The main aim of this project has been the design and development of a contactless spatial audio system for a commercial virtual reality device, to complement the above technologies in the future. In collaboration with the company AudioScenic, an intelligent interface was developed between their cutting-edge Audio Rendering system and the Oculus Rift. The final output utilizes multiple arrays of speakers which adapts to the listener, and is a novel, configurable system incorporating two modes of operation - array switching and synchronous performance. The final design was developed over three iterations, progressively shaped by extensive acoustical simulations, objective and subjective tests. A novel virtual reality environment was developed for assessing localization performance in the subjective tests. The system additionally incorporates a simple array localization tool for setup, alongside a calibration device for loudspeaker impedance testing. The proposed system effectively communicates with the Rift, delivering all immersive spatial audio without headphones for all appropriate commercially available VR content.