Virtual Reality & Sound

Virtual Reality & Sound

Por: Nicole em 03/11/2016

Sound waves live in three dimensions. A sound starts and then finishes, it fades away when traveling into the distance, and we can tell the direction it`s coming from. VR, unlike sound, is something you see. It requires a piece of plastic or even cardboard on your head, and lets you walk in a computer-generated world through a lens. It doesn`t travel too far like sound does?—?VR is usually no larger than room-scale.

Sound waves traveling

If you want to get real with VR and be fully immersed, the HTC Vive ($799) and Oculus Rift ($599.99) are two popular VR headsets out in the market that will blow your mind. It`s because when you experience “real” VR content, it`s all-encompassing. It`s interactive elements will make you realize we as humans have the potential to create anything we want in this world.

Interactions in room-scale VR

VR can take you through a simulation of the Syrian refugee camps and increase empathy. It lets you draw three dimensional paintings for your friends to walk around in virtual space. It gives surgeons more control when diagnosing patients, and filmmakers the ability to animate without code.

But sound alone is special in a way that VR can never be special. Sometimes you need to just close your eyes and listen to something without looking at it. VR, on the other hand, is mostly visual, but not entirely visual. There are sounds in VR, but sounds are not what give you full immersion. Sound is just one part of the medium, but not even always.


Leap Motion let`s you control a computer in 3D with your natural hand and finger movements

Ben Long, a researcher at the University of Bristol in the UK believes that sound is the answer to sense of touch in VR. His team has created a system where sound can produce the sensation of physical touch. The system`s speakers produce sound waves that exert gentle pressure on a user`s skin. Long connects this speaker to a Leap Motion controller that determines the position of a user`s hands in relationship to a CG object in the VR environment.

As VR advances it will be interesting to learn whether the positive effects triggered in the brain when in VR overlap with that of your favorite song.

Does VR content have the potential to make you tingly inside like your favorite song does? That I don`t know, but I do know that VR taps into more senses than a song does. It lets you touch, feel, see, hear, and even possibly smell. VR has the ability to satisfy or even dissatisfy ALL our senses. It`s up to VR developers, like songwriters, to provide us with content that impacts us in ways that make our existing world an even more enjoyable place.