A research team from Polytechnique develops a 3D sound spatialization software
The X-Audio team from École Polytechnique Center for Applied Mathematics (CMAP) developed a free binaural monitoring plug-in that can be used by sound engineers, audiophiles or just curious people.
Born out of a collaboration with sound engineers of the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris, this dynamic binaural engine allows to mix and monitor up to 48 audio channels, using a simple headset.
Through head-tracking and using a precise location of sound sources, MyBino allows the user to detect the movement of sound in space (such as a plane flying over the listener, for instance). In order to do so, researchers from the CMAP lab used Head-Related Transfer Fonctions (HRTFs) calculated with state-of-the-art interpolation techniques that allow a one degree precision. Moreover, these researchers tried to reproduce a natural “sound field” to the auditory pavilion, using the characteristics of acoustic waves in any place (room, auditorium, historical monuments, etc.)
The sound that is thus reproduced and its quality lead to many different applications. This software firstly offers an affordable alternative to sound engineers who can work their multi-channel mixes with an audio headset, as with conventional multiple speakers, but without replacing them. It also gives listeners easier access to these mixes. Otherwise, this software is adapted to the rendering of audio that goes along with virtual reality devices. It makes virtual world more realistic, while limiting the cybersickness effect (nausea caused by the conflict between visual and auditory information and brain comprehension).
Finally, once associated with a spatial localization device, MyBino enables to guide people thanks to sound signals. Carried out in partnership with the association "MixHandi Cap sur la vie", experiences have already enabled Stéphane Lesueur (a blind athlete) to run and practice rollerblading, by following a spatialized sound source. This research makes it possible to visually-impaired persons to practice sports with more autonomy, which answers an important social issue.
Creation of a software consortium
In fine, the practical applications of the software developed by École Polytechnique researchers, in connection with the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris, are extremely various. That is the reason why the X-Audio team offers potential partners, industrial or academic, to join a software consortium that is to be created in order to support its upkeep and development.