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Sound Spatialization as a Navigational Aid in Virtual Environments

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"Sound Spatialization as a Navigational Aid in Virtual Environments", (2002)
Carlos Ordonez, Navarun Gupta and Armando Barreto

ABSTRACT: Studies at our laboratory have resulted in a new method of helping a blindfolded person transverse a virtual environment where four spatialized sounds, placed at different locations using Head Related Transfer Functions, were delivered through headphones and used as navigation cues. The subjects, represented by the cursor, were asked to navigate a synthetic virtual environment defined by vertical and horizontal walls drawn on the computer screen using Matlab's Graphic User Interface (GUI) components. Our original testing method measured the total averaged distance transversed in the environment and the amount of collisions experienced by the subjects when the cursor crossed over the virtual walls. This paper studies additional methods for testing such a system, by tracking the movements of the subjects throughout the maze, analyzing the distance between the beginning and end points, and the density of intermediate positions along the path. This document will present the results obtained with 10 subjects using the new testing enhancements to obtain a more accurate assessment of the system.