mediaX Thought Leaders Develops New Algorithm with More Realistic Sound Effects in VR

July 30, 2019

Computer scientists at Stanford have invented an algorithm that can create sound models in seconds, making it cost effective to simulate sounds for many different objects in a virtual environment. When an action occurs that demands a sound, this new model can synthesize a sound every bit as realistic as the sounds generated by the much slower and still experimental algorithms of the past. “Making it easier to create models makes it practical to build interactive environments with realistic sound effects,” said Doug James, a professor of computer science with a courtesy appointment in music.

Prior algorithms to create sound models were based on work done by the 19th-century scientist Hermann von Helmholtz, who gave his name to an equation that describes how sounds propagate. Based on this theoretical underpinning, scientists designed algorithms to create 3D sound models: software routines that are capable of synthesizing audio that seems realistic because the volume and direction of the sound change depending on where the action occurs relative to the listener. Until now the best algorithms for creating 3D sound models relied on the boundary element method (BEM), a slow process that was just too costly for commercial use.

“We think this is a game changer for interactive environments,” James said.

Watch Doug’s mediaX Presentation the Sound of Immersion

Read the entire Stanford Engineering Story by Tom Abate HERE

Watch the project video