In Switzerland, about two thirds of the population feel disturbed by noise. Therefore, it is important that noise is taken into account in spatial planning and that spaces are created that offer good sound quality. When it comes to measures for noise reduction, acoustics firms in Switzerland focus mainly on the sound level as the decisive assessment factor. Acoustic quality, which is just as important for well-being as visual impressions, has been strongly neglected so far. The soundscape approach opens up new holistic perspectives by considering the acoustic environment as a resource and focusing on sounds that people prefer. However, there is currently a lack of practical tools to integrate the idea of soundscapes into the field of environmental acoustics.
Together with the practical partner SINUS AG, this preliminary project explored the potential of generated AR soundscapes and the related technical requirements for the development and deployment of such a tool. This preliminary project (funded by Innosuisse) was linked to the ITC project "Generated AR Soundscapes".
The following services were performed by the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts:
- Generation of soundscapes: For this, a baseline prototype for generating realistic ambient sounds starting from 2D images was developed and tested.
The prototype is published on GitHub with more detailed information on how it works: https://github.com/hslu-abiz/soundscape-generation
- Audio Augmented Reality: for this purpose, a first prototype was developed and tested to enable Spatial Audio with a situational and interactive Augmented Reality application for spatial planning.
As a first step, the preliminary study showed the potential for urban planning processes by:
1) the simulation of soundscapes, which can reproduce the actual acoustic qualities of urban space using only an image as input, are immensely time-saving. 2) the on-site experience of soundscape using audio augmented reality provides a new perspective and basis for discussion of environmental acoustics.
Based on the gathered insights, together with SINUS AG and other project partners, a joint submission of an Innosuisse project as a follow-up project is being considered.