Published: 05 March 2015

Surrey research to be presented to audience of MPs

Dr Phil Coleman has been invited to talk about his research into perceptually optimised sound zones to the Houses of Commons and Lords as part of a SET for BRITAIN event taking place on 9 March.

The research, which is based on sound optimisation and cancelling technology developed in Surrey’s Centre for Vision, Speech and Signal Processing (CVSSP) and Institute of Sound Recording (IoSR), could pave the way for personalised audio applications in homes and cars.

This might enable children to watch cartoons without disturbing their parents, for example, or for a blind person to be the only person receiving audio description while enjoying a film with their family. There are also potential applications in the healthcare sector, where the technology could enable personalised sound between adjacent hospital beds, or in mobile communications, allowing private hands-free conversations.

The perceptually optimised sound zones (POSZ) project was carried out by a research team led by Dr Philip Jackson (CVSSP) and Dr Russell Mason (IoSR), in collaboration with Danish technology manufacturer Bang & Olufsen. The three-and-a-half year project was funded by Bang & Olufsen and EPSRC (the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council).

Dr Coleman was selected as one of the early-career research scientists, engineers and mathematicians to present their work at the prestigious final of the 2015 SET for BRITAIN event, which takes place at Portcullis House in Westminster on 9 March. SET for BRITAIN aims to raise the profile of early-career researchers and enable politicians to engage with current scientific research being undertaken in the UK, particularly in their local constituencies.

Dr Coleman commented, “The project was successful in developing new technology based on the understanding of how listeners perceive sound zones, and demonstrating the benefits of personal audio to a wide range of people. I think it’s important to share state-of-the-art research with the wider community, and an exciting challenge to explain the results and wider implications of UK research to politicians without using any jargon!”

The POSZ project, which ran from October 2010 to March 2014, has already resulted in two EU patent applications being filed by Bang & Olufsen.


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