- Acoustic Simulation and Visualization Algorithms (2008)
- Computer-based simulation and visualization of acoustics of a virtual scene can aid during the design process of concert halls, lecture rooms, theaters, or living rooms. Because, not only the visual aspect of the room is important, but also its acoustics. In factory floors noise reduction is important since noise is hazardous to health. Despite the obvious dissimilarity between our aural and visual senses, many techniques required for the visualization of photo-realistic images and for the auralization of acoustic environments are quite similar. Both applications can be served by geometric methods such as particle- and ray tracing if we neglect a number of less important effects. By means of the simulation of room acoustics we want to predict the acoustic properties of a virtual model. For auralization, a pulse response filter needs to be assembled for each pair of source and listener positions. The convolution of this filter with an anechoic source signal provides the signal received at the listener position. Hence, the pulse response filter must contain all reverberations (echos) of a unit pulse, including their frequency decompositions due to absorption at different surface materials. For the room acoustic simulation a method named phonon tracing, since it is based on particles, is developed. The approach computes the energy or pressure decomposition for each particle (phonon) sent out from a sound source and uses this in a second pass (phonon collection) to construct the response filters for different listeners. This step can be performed in different precision levels. During the tracing step particle paths and additional information are stored in a so called phonon map. Using this map several sound visualization approaches were developed. From the visualization, the effect of different materials on the spectral energy / pressure distribution can be observed. The first few reflections already show whether certain frequency bands are rapidly absorbed. The absorbing materials can be identified and replaced in the virtual model, improving the overall acoustic quality of the simulated room. Furthermore an insight into the pressure / energy received at the listener position is possible. The phonon tracing algorithm as well as several sound visualization approaches are integrated into a common system utilizing Virtual Reality technologies in order to facilitate the immersion into the virtual scene. The system is a prototype developed within a project at the University of Kaiserslautern and is still a subject of further improvements. It consists of a stereoscopic back-projection system for visual rendering as well as professional audio equipment for auralization purposes.