Real-time, head-tracked 3D audio with unlimited simultaneous sounds

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Jin, Craig
Tan, Teewon
Kan, Alan
Lin, Dennis
Schaik, Andre van
Smith, Keir
McGinity, Matthew
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This research presents a novel 3D audio playback method in which real-time head-tracking is maintained with an unlimited number of simultaneous sound sources. The method presented relies on using a 500-900MByte sound buffer which contains binaural data for 385 head orientations and a processing platform with two hard disks in a RAID 0 configuration that can stream data at a rate of 80-100 MBytes/s. We discuss issues related to how the number of head-orientations influences a smooth presentation, how the window length influences smooth transitions between different head-orientations and the file format used for storing the sounds. The new 3D audio playback method was incorporated into a 3D audio playback engine (3DApe) which can: play a 3D audio soundtrack consisting of an unlimited number of simultaneous sound sources, switch between different 3D audio soundtracks, play back up to 8 simultaneous and instantaneous sound sources on command, use a head-tracker interface via the virtual reality peripheral network (VRPN), supply 3D audio communication using voice over IP, and interface with a Virtools graphical software engine. 3DApe was demonstrated as part of an interactive 3D cinematic artwork, entitled Conversations, that was on display at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney in December 2004
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