Most people who have an opinion on virtual reality often consider this technology to be bad for our awareness, senses, and so forth. It is evident something will need to change in this regard, albeit one doesn’t necessarily have any evidence a positive turnaround is even possible. Researchers at Acoustical Society of America have uncovered VR technology can benefit spatial perception in some ways.
Spatial Awareness and VR Seem an odd Mix
Spatial awareness is a very interesting concept. Being able to determine the origin of sounds through our ears is very complex, yet we often take it for granted. The brain processes a ton of information from many potentially conflicting cues to make sense of it all. One couldn’t necessarily envision a way in which VR can enhance this overall experience in a positive manner.
Even so, researchers in the US are confident things can be improved upon. A 360-degree view helps viewers to direct their attention to where sounds originate from. It is similar to how real life works, although recreating this concept in VR is not as straightforward.
Vanderbilt University associate professor G. Christophe Stecker is confident a lot of positive progress can be made. He is confident VR technology can bring the real world into the lab and vice versa. Probing auditory spatial awareness in a controlled environment becomes a possibility. This can lead to improved hearing aids, accurate diagnoses of auditory disorders, and richer sound experiences across video games, movies, and so forth.
The current plan of action is to let subjects use HMDs to be immersed in a specific setting. By letting the subjects turn their head in a specific direction, the researchers can manipulate essential location cues. Based on this information, a proper analysis can be made as to how virtual reality affects spatial awareness. Definitely something to look forward to in the months and years to come.
Header image courtesy of Shutterstock
If you liked this article make sure to follow us on twitter @thevrbase and subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date with the latest VR trends and news.