Localization of a virtual wall by means of active echolocation by untrained sighted persons

Localization of a virtual wall by means of active echolocation by untrained sighted persons The active sensing and perception of the environment by auditory means is typically known as echolocation and it can be acquired by humans, who can profit from it in the absence of vision. We investigated the ability of twenty-one untrained sighted participants to use echolocation with self-generated oral clicks for aligning themselves within the horizontal plane towards a virtual wall, emulated with an acoustic virtual reality system, at distances between 1 and 32 m, in the absence of background noise and reverberation. Participants were able to detect the virtual wall on 61% of the trials, although with large differences across individuals and distances. The use of louder and shorter clicks led to an increased performance, whereas the use of clicks with lower frequency content allowed for the use of interaural time differences to improve the accuracy of reflection localization at very long distances. The distance of 2 m was the most difficult to detect and localize, whereas the furthest distances of 16 and 32 m were the easiest ones. Thus, echolocation may be used effectively to identify large distant environmental landmarks such as buildings. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Applied Acoustics Elsevier

Localization of a virtual wall by means of active echolocation by untrained sighted persons

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Publisher
Elsevier
Copyright
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd
ISSN
0003-682X
eISSN
1872-910X
D.O.I.
10.1016/j.apacoust.2018.04.018
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The active sensing and perception of the environment by auditory means is typically known as echolocation and it can be acquired by humans, who can profit from it in the absence of vision. We investigated the ability of twenty-one untrained sighted participants to use echolocation with self-generated oral clicks for aligning themselves within the horizontal plane towards a virtual wall, emulated with an acoustic virtual reality system, at distances between 1 and 32 m, in the absence of background noise and reverberation. Participants were able to detect the virtual wall on 61% of the trials, although with large differences across individuals and distances. The use of louder and shorter clicks led to an increased performance, whereas the use of clicks with lower frequency content allowed for the use of interaural time differences to improve the accuracy of reflection localization at very long distances. The distance of 2 m was the most difficult to detect and localize, whereas the furthest distances of 16 and 32 m were the easiest ones. Thus, echolocation may be used effectively to identify large distant environmental landmarks such as buildings.

Journal

Applied AcousticsElsevier

Published: Oct 1, 2018

References

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