ACM - Computers in Entertainment

Sound Localization on Tabletop Computers

By Bill Kapralos, Jonathan Lam, Karen Collins, Andrew Hogue, Kamen Kanev, Michael Jenkin
Theoretical and Practical Computer Applications in Entertainment, [Vol. 12, No. 2]

DOI: 10.1145/2701657.2633415

Tabletop computers (also known as surface computers and smart tables) have been growing in popularity for the past decade and are poised to make inroads into the consumer market, opening up a new market for the games industry. But before tabletop computers become widely accepted, there are many questions with respect to sound production and reception for these devices that need to be explored, particularly when it comes to multimedia consumption on the devices. For example, which loudspeaker setups should be used to take into consideration the multi-user nature of tabletop computers, and which panning method(s) maximize the spatial localization abilities of the user(s)? Previous work suggests that a quadraphonic diamond-shaped loudspeaker configuration—whereby a loudspeaker is placed at each of the four sides of the tabletop computer—leads to more accurate localization results when compared with a traditional quadraphonic loudspeaker configuration—whereby a loudspeaker is placed at each of the four corners of the tabletop computer. Given this preference for a diamond loudspeaker configuration, we examine two amplitude-panning methods (bilinear interpolation and inverse distance) for spatializing a sound on the (horizontal) surface of the table-computer with a diamond loudspeaker configuration. Results from the study detailed in this paper indicate that there are no significant differences between the two methods and that both methods are prone to error.

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