The concept of augmented reality audio characterizes techniques where a real sound environment is extended with virtual auditory environments and communications scenarios. A framework is introduced for mobile augmented reality audio (MARA) based on a specific headset configuration where binaural microphone elements are integrated into stereo earphones. When microphone signals are routed directly to the earphones, a user is exposed to a pseudoacoustic representation of the real environment. Virtual sound events are then mixed with microphone signals to produce a hybrid, an augmented reality audio representation, for the user. An overview of related technology, literature, and application scenarios is provided. Listening test results with a prototype system show that the proposed system has interesting properties. For example, in some cases listeners found it very difficult to determine which sound sources in an augmented reality audio representation are real and which are virtual.
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