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Sound-Enhanced Spatial Awareness for Navigation in Virtual Environments

In this diploma thesis project we study the effects of environmental spatial sound feedback on the navigational behavior of test users in a virtual environment. To this end we implemented a set of modules for the ACTIF interaction framework providing a range of different sound modes. The goal was to enhance the user's perception of his virtual surroundings, by not only giving visual feedback of nearby objects (specifically the walls of the room the user is in), but also providing an aural ``sense'' of object proximity. In addition to full surround sound we use haptic feedback from a vibrating sound floor.

The study indicates that spatial sound feedback provides the user with a heightened awareness of his surroundings, aiding in obstacle avoidance and collision prevention, but also shows distracting effects, as the user explores the surrounding soundscape.


Collision Avoidance in Virtual Environments through Aural Spacial Awareness

Christian Afonso, Steffi Beckhaus
Proceedings of ACM SIG CHI EA'11, p. 1369-1374, Vancouver, 2011
File(s): Paper (pdf)

People involved:

Christian Afonso, Steffi Beckhaus