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Usability of 3D-Sound for Navigation in a Constrained Virtual Environment

This paper presents a study on a global evaluation of spatial auditory displays in a constrained virtual environment. Forty subjects had to find nine sound sources in a virtual town, navigating by using spatialized auditory cues that were delivered differently in four different conditions: by a binaural versus a stereophonic rendering (through headphones) combined by a contextualized versus decontextualized presentation of information. Behavioral data, auto-evaluation of cognitive load and subjective-impression data collected via a questionnaire were recorded. The analysis shows that the bina ural-contextualized presentation of auditory cues leads to the best results in terms of usability, cognitive load and subjective evaluation. However, these advantages are only observable after a certain period of acquisition.

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