VARI-SOUND: a varifocal lens for sound

Memoli, Gianluca, Chisari, Letizia, Eccles, Jonathan P, Caleap, Mihai, Drinkwater, Bruce W and Subramanian, Sriram (2019) VARI-SOUND: a varifocal lens for sound. CHI '19 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Glasgow, Scotland, May 04-09 2019. Published in: Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. (483) 1-14. Association for Computing Machinery ISBN 9781450359702

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Centuries of development in optics have given us passive devices (i.e. lenses, mirrors and filters) to enrich audience immersivity with light effects, but there is nothing similar for sound. Beam-forming in concert halls and outdoor gigs still requires a large number of speakers, while headphones are still the state-of-the-art for personalized audio immersivity in VR. In this work, we show how 3D printed acoustic meta-surfaces, assembled into the equivalent of optical systems, may offer a different solution. We demonstrate how to build them and how to use simple design tools, like the thin-lens equation, also for sound. We present some key acoustic devices, like a "collimator", to transform a standard computer speaker into an acoustic "spotlight"; and a "magnifying glass", to create sound sources coming from distinct locations than the speaker itself. Finally, we demonstrate an acoustic varifocal lens, discussing applications equivalent to auto-focus cameras and VR headsets and the limitations of the technology.

Item Type: Conference Proceedings
Schools and Departments: School of Engineering and Informatics > Informatics
Research Centres and Groups: Creative Technology
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Depositing User: Gianluca Memoli
Date Deposited: 09 Jul 2019 11:20
Last Modified: 21 Feb 2022 09:59

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Project NameSussex Project NumberFunderFunder Ref
AURORA: Controlling sound like we do with lightG2448EPSRC-ENGINEERING & PHYSICAL SCIENCES RESEARCH COUNCILEP/S001832/1