AudioScope: Smartphones as Directional Microphones in Mobile Audio Augmented Reality Systems

  • Heller F
  • Borchers J
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Mobile audio augmented reality systems (MAARS) provide a new and engaging modality to present information or to create playful experiences. Using special filters, spatial audio rendering creates the impression that the sound of a virtual source emanates from a certain position in the physical space. So far, most of the implementations of such systems rely on head tracking to create a realistic effect, which requires additional hardware. Recent results indicate that the built-in sensors of a smartphone can be used as source for orientation measurement, reducing deployment to a simple app download. AudioScope presents an alternative interaction technique to create such an experience, using the metaphor of pointing a directional microphone at the environment. In an experiment with 20 users, we compared the time to locate a proximate audio source and the perceived presence in the virtual environment. Results show that there is no significant difference between head-orientation measurement and AudioScope regarding accuracy and perceived presence. This means that MAARS, such as audio guides for museums, do not require special hardware but can run on the visitor's smartphones with standard headphones.

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  • Florian Heller

  • Jan Borchers

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