Efficient Techniques for Wave-based Sound Propagation in Interactive Applications Public Deposited

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  • March 19, 2019
  • Mehra, Ravish
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Computer Science
  • Sound propagation techniques model the effect of the environment on sound waves and predict their behavior from point of emission at the source to the final point of arrival at the listener. Sound is a pressure wave produced by mechanical vibration of a surface that propagates through a medium such as air or water, and the problem of sound propagation can be formulated mathematically as a second-order partial differential equation called the wave equation. Accurate techniques based on solving the wave equation, also called the wave-based techniques, are too expensive computationally and memory-wise. Therefore, these techniques face many challenges in terms of their applicability in interactive applications including sound propagation in large environments, time-varying source and listener directivity, and high simulation cost for mid-frequencies. In this dissertation, we propose a set of efficient wave-based sound propagation techniques that solve these three challenges and enable the use of wave-based sound propagation in interactive applications. Firstly, we propose a novel equivalent source technique for interactive wave-based sound propagation in large scenes spanning hundreds of meters. It is based on the equivalent source theory used for solving radiation and scattering problems in acoustics and electromagnetics. Instead of using a volumetric or surface-based approach, this technique takes an object-centric approach to sound propagation. The proposed equivalent source technique generates realistic acoustic effects and takes orders of magnitude less runtime memory compared to prior wave-based techniques. Secondly, we present an efficient framework for handling time-varying source and listener directivity for interactive wave-based sound propagation. The source directivity is represented as a linear combination of elementary spherical harmonic sources. This spherical harmonic-based representation of source directivity can support analytical, data-driven, rotating or time-varying directivity function at runtime. Unlike previous approaches, the listener directivity approach can be used to compute spatial audio (3D audio) for a moving, rotating listener at interactive rates. Lastly, we propose an efficient GPU-based time-domain solver for the wave equation that enables wave simulation up to the mid-frequency range in tens of minutes on a desktop computer. It is demonstrated that by carefully mapping all the components of the wave simulator to match the parallel processing capabilities of the graphics processors, significant improvement in performance can be achieved compared to the CPU-based simulators, while maintaining numerical accuracy. We validate these techniques with offline numerical simulations and measured data recorded in an outdoor scene. We present results of preliminary user evaluations conducted to study the impact of these techniques on user's immersion in virtual environment. We have integrated these techniques with the Half-Life 2 game engine, Oculus Rift head-mounted display, and Xbox game controller to enable users to experience high-quality acoustics effects and spatial audio in the virtual environment.
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Manocha, Dinesh
  • Whitted, Turner
  • Lastra, Anselmo
  • Lin, Ming
  • Niethammer, Marc
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2015
Place of publication
  • Chapel Hill, NC
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