Bridging the Gap Between Sound and Non-Sound Professionals with Virtual Reality

Authors

  • Richard Yanaky Multimodal Interaction Lab, School of Information Studies, McGill University Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology, CA
  • Catherine Guastavino 1 Multimodal Interaction Lab, School of Information Studies, McGill University Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology, CA

Abstract

Urban soundscape planning remains a challenge to many due in part to a scarcity of soundscape design tools. While many sound planning tools exist, they are generally geared towards acousticians rather than non-sound-based Professionals of the Built Environment (PBEs) (e.g., urban designers, planners, or landscape architects). This disconnect produces pressure points for both PBEs and acoustics experts, resulting in sound being considered late in urban projects and large burdens being placed on acousticians to consider many aspects outside their own areas of expertise. This work presents a new 3D virtual reality simulator to help PBEs consider sound in outdoor public spaces. City Ditty was created through a user-centered design process, focused on identifying and evaluating functionalities that would benefit PBEs that do not have much experience with sound. Through focusing on the auditory experience via a soundscape framework, this can help people learn to talk about sound in an accessible way and give them simple tools to consider different sound intervention strategies. This was done through a self-guided sound-awareness session that walks the user through 36 tasks in desktop virtual reality. These hands-on tasks both illustrate soundscape principles while serving as instructions on how to use the many functions of City Ditty. E.g., listen to the city soundscape at different times of the day, pedestrianize the city centre, modify permissible construction times, and add birdfeeders to attract sounds of nature. Early testing indicated that users could use this to 1) learn how to use the software itself, 2) learn basics of soundscape design, and 3) implement their own simple soundscapes in less than an hour. This presentation gives an overview of current barriers and possible timelines for adoption, followed by preliminary results of a new usability study that extends this work into head-mounted virtual reality with enhanced audio capabilities.

Additional Files

Published

2023-10-09

How to Cite

1.
Yanaky R, Guastavino C. Bridging the Gap Between Sound and Non-Sound Professionals with Virtual Reality. Canadian Acoustics [Internet]. 2023 Oct. 9 [cited 2024 May 26];51(3):192-3. Available from: https://jcaa.caa-aca.ca/index.php/jcaa/article/view/4064

Issue

Section

Proceedings of the Acoustics Week in Canada

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