1pm - 2pm BST

Wednesday 26 July 2023

Professor Philip Jackson - Sound is all around us: Engineering sound spatially


Teaching Block
University of Surrey
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Among our senses, sound is unique in endowing us with an ability to detect events at a distance from anywhere around us. You may be doing something else or facing the wrong way, have your eyes shut or even be asleep!

Why not close your eyes for 30 seconds, and focus for a moment on what you can perceive about your environment by listening. What can you hear? Where are the main sounds? Is anyone talking? What are they saying? How big is the person? How big is the room? What is happening?

Here begins the story of an adventure into sound, from how we humans produce sound when we speak to ways systems can use 'anti-sound' to control where the sound arrives, and even an approach to personalise the sound that you experience. This inaugural lecture will present research from the POSZ project (pronounced "posh"), S3A and the current AI4ME collaboration. In POSZ, we developed sound-zone technology that informed the design of Bang & Olufsen's BeoLab and BeoSound Balance spatially-adaptive luxury loudspeakers. The S3A project directly enabled the production of pioneering sound-led immersive experiences, using coordinated connected devices, introducing narrative enhancement into iPlayer to assist the hard of hearing, and the BBC's first VR release: The Turning Forest. With over 80 thousand downloads, nominated for best VR experience at Google Play awards, and winner of the TVB Europe Award for Best Achievement in Sound, we demonstrated the technology enabling the broadcast industry's sonic transformation, 60 years after stereo's introduction. In AI4ME, we are busy working with colleagues in BBC R&D to explore ways to bring the flexible, personalised media experiences of the future to meet individual needs across the mass audience. Come, hear!