Jan 23, 2016

For VR to be truly immersive, it needs convincing sound to match

Posted by in categories: electronics, neuroscience, virtual reality

The VR sound barrier; how do we address?

I’m staring at a large iron door in a dimly lit room. “Hey,” a voice says, somewhere on my right. “Hey buddy, you there?” It’s a heavily masked humanoid. He proceeds to tell me that my sensory equipment is down and will need to be fixed. Seconds later, the heavy door groans. A second humanoid leads the way into the spaceship where my suit will be repaired.

Inside a wide room with bright spotlights I notice an orange drilling machine. “OK, before we start, I need to remove the panel from the back of your head,” says the humanoid. I hear the whirring of a drill behind me. I squirm and reflexively raise my shoulders. The buzzing gets louder, making the hair on the nape of my neck stand up.

Then I snapped out of it. I removed the Oculus Rift DK2 strapped on my face and the headphones pressed on my ears and was back on the crowded floors of the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas. But for a few terrifying seconds, the realistic audio in Fixing Incus, a virtual reality demo built on RealSpace 3D audio engine, had tricked my brain into thinking a machine had pulled nails out from the back of my head.

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