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Research Shows Audio Experiences in Virtual Reality Can Be 'Real'

Posted on: August 3, 2022

Researchers at the University of York have shown that creating sound in a virtual reality that mimics the “real” audiovisual world and the everyday interactions of people has advantages over cinema-type sound experiences.

This research is part of the XR Stories program at the University of York.

Professional as part of York University XR story Based on the way people receive images and sounds in the real world, the project proposes new sound strategies for developing virtual reality (VR) environments, ultimately improving user experience and reducing the effects of VR motion sickness. reduce the risk of

Virtual reality applications experienced in home environments use a variety of technologies to convey sound. Some use a “cinematic” approach where the sound is outside of the interaction in the VR world, some use a single object focus for music such as radio, and others use environmental interaction and sound such as object sounds. Some also match fall to the floor.

However, most of the time VR uses a mixture of audio methods. Some sounds appear to come from objects in the world, while others appear to be in or outside the virtual world.


However, this approach has some issues and can cause a feeling of being disconnected from the virtual world in which it is created, and in some cases a feeling of motion sickness. The ears don’t match perfectly.

If the sound doesn’t reflect the everyday audio experience (e.g. birds should be chirping louder when the VR user gets close to it), or if the music is overlaid without a clear source or reason for the sound , which is not authentic and can be confusing. experience.

Research at the University of York proposed a new sound design strategy based on objects that naturally generate sound in the ‘real world’. This means that the entire audio environment in VR is built around objects that generate sound at specific positions in space, reflecting the way people experience sound in real time.


Constantin Popp, research associate for the XR Stories project at York University’s AudioLab, said:

“This idea allows each sound-producing object to be interactive and responsive to the user, improving the user experience. can also be applied to

“For example, when a user drops an object, the game plays a matching sound that indicates how fast and where the object fell. This strategy increases believability and narrative depth.”

everyday world

However, this methodology requires more computer processing power in the VR headset than many current approaches, and it also increases the development stage and overall cost of VR, so it would take more to expedite this process. The researchers added that it could take a lot of work. and cheaper.

Damain Murphy, Professor at York University and Director of XR Stories, said: of our everyday world.

“Better audiovisual design reduces the risk of users feeling ‘dazy’ or suffering from the effects of motion sickness, a common problem for some in VR. received by the brain.

“This approach to audio in VR can provide a more unified, natural, and lifelike experience.”

This research is supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) XR Stories project as part of the Creative Industries Cluster Programme, and is published in the journal. applied science.

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