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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/H008160/1
Title: 3D Audio Interface for Exploration of Audio Collections
Principal Investigator: Sandler, Professor M
Other Investigators:
Kudumakis, Dr P
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Sch of Electronic Eng & Computer Science
Organisation: Queen Mary University of London
Scheme: Follow on Fund
Starts: 01 February 2010 Ends: 28 February 2011 Value (£): 83,127
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Music & Acoustic Technology
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Sports and Recreation
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
01 May 2009 Follow on Fund 6 Panel (TECH) Deferred
21 Oct 2009 Follow On Fund 7 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
A large number of people own a portable digital audio player - in a recent market report by In-Stat the worldwide unit sales were predicted to be 286 million by 2010. Music collections on these devices are also sizeable, typically with many 1000s of songs. The songs are grouped together in various ways: historically as albums, but more recently in playlists either generated automatically by software, or generated by the user. The challenge with large groups of songs is to navigate effectively though the group, or playlist, to select the song, or songs of choice.Currently users interact with playlists through a visual interface - the screen on the front of the device. Proposed in this application is a purely audio means of interacting with a playlist. The user browses through the songs in the playlist, listening briefly to each and selecting the songs of choice. This is achieved by using 3D audio technology, which plays several songs simultaneously as if they were originating from different spatial locations. From trials of an early-stage prototype of the technology it has been established that 4 songs playing at the same time, located using virtual acoustics in different virtual positions around the listener's head, is the optimal set up. The user can then easily navigate around the 3D virtual sound space, either using buttons on the device, or by pointing and tilting the device appropriately, if it contains an accelerometer (or similar), as increasingly many devices do, including the iPhone and iPod Touch.The funding will be used to further develop the technology, ultimately so that it runs on a stand-alone hand-held device. This can then be demonstrated to potential licensees. We also intend to release a limited functionality version free from our isophonics web portal, which currently offers our SoundBite automatic playlisting tool. This limited functionality release will enable potential customers and end-users to trial the software before purchase. Additionally, it will enable us to engage with end-users, seeking their feedback for improving the software.The technology will be commercially exploited by licensing the software as an API. One of the commercial issues addressed by the work plan presented in this proposal is whether a spin-out company should be established as a licencing vehicle, or whether direct exclusive licensing to an major mobile handset manufacturer, such as Nokia is more appropriate.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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