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Title: Human sound localisation cues and their relation to morphology
Author: Thorpe, Jonathan Benjamin Alexis
ISNI:       0000 0004 2684 0972
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2009
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Binaural soundfield reproduction has the potential to create realistic threedimensional sound scenes using only a pair of normal headphones. Possible applications for binaural audio abound in, for example, the music, mobile communications and games industries. A problem exists, however, in that the head-related transfer functions (HRTFs) which inform our spatial perception of sound are affected by variations in human morphology, particularly in the shape of the external ear. It has been observed that HRTFs simply based on some kind of average head shape generally result in poor elevation perception, weak externalisation and spectrally distorted sound images. Hence, HRTFs are needed which accommodate these individual differences. Direct acoustic measurement and acoustic simulations based on morphological measurements are obvious means of obtaining individualised HRTFs, but both methods suffer from high cost and practical difficulties. The lack of a viable measurement method is currently hindering the widespread adoption of binaural technologies. There have been many attempts to estimate individualised HTRFs effectively and cheaply using easily obtainable morphological descriptors, but due to an inadequate understanding of the complex acoustic effects created in particular by the external ear, success has been limited. The work presented in this thesis strengthens current understanding in several ways and provides a promising route towards improved HRTF estimation. The way HRTFs vary as a function of direction is compared with localisation acuity to help pinpoint spectral features which contribute to spatial perception. 50 subjects have been scanned using magnetic resonance imaging to capture their head and pinna morphologies, and HRTFs for the same group have been measured acoustically. To make analysis of this extensive data tractable, and so reveal the mapping between the morphological and acoustic domains, a parametric method for efficiently describing head morphology has been developed. Finally, a novel technique, referred to as morphoacoustic perturbation analysis (MPA), is described. We demonstrate how MPA allows the morphological origin of a variety of HRTF spectral features to be identified.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available