ARGUS Project Newsletter 2 (December 2012)Page 2
What is “binaural”?
Binaural sounds create the illusion that soundsproduced by stereo headphones come fromspecific directions and distances, based on theinteraural differences (arrival time and amplitudebetween the ears). This allows users perceiving3D sound positioning, which can be used to guidevisually impaired persons following a route(controlled via GNSS) giving a sense of 3Dnavigation.To understand what binaural hearing is, we mustknow how we perceive the sound from those two
“inputs”, our ears.
The sound waves with their directionality andtheir amplitude make our ear/brain system locatesounds using our two ears. We use threedifferent cues between our ears when locating asound source: level, phase and spectrum(loudness). These differences are used in theARGUS Project to generate virtual soundscreating another reality layer, corresponding tothe direction that the user must follow. Although,none of these differences acts alone, the spatiallocation depends on many factors such as sight,location awareness, experience, environment,and even the state of mind are important forsound localization.The ARGUS User Terminal incorporates anAcoustic System, which reads from the
Navigation Unit the user’s position. Its orientation
is given by the Smartphone. Using thisinformation the Acoustic System will trigger thenecessary 3D sound cues to guide the user to itsright way without blocking the ear canal.The user perceives an additional reality layer of useful information, giving all the necessary stimulito guide users naturally through a virtualpathway. Not just with a virtual 3D sound, butalso with detailed audio descriptions of Points of Interest, services, and many environmentalinformation.Users can customize the system choosing amongdifferent sounds and adjusting parameters likevolume, or speed of sound. Others will beautomatically set up depending on the usagecontext and environment. The system will self-adjust its loudness to be heard but not disturbingin any area.In addition to the navigation system an onlineservice will support in-situ routing assistance anda web-based collaborative environment includinga social network will be used.