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Toward Objective Measures of Auditory Co-Immersion in Virtual and Augmented Reality

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“Co-immersion” refers to the perception of real or virtual objects as contained within or belonging to a shared multisensory scene. Environmental features such as lighting and reverberation contribute to the experience of co-immersion even when awareness of those features is not explicit. Objective measures of co-immersion are needed to validate user experience and accessibility in augmented-reality applications, particularly those that aim for “face-to-face” quality. Here, we describe an approach that combines psychophysical measurement with virtual-reality games to assess users’ sensitivity to room-acoustic differences across concurrent talkers in a simulated complex scene. Eliminating the need for explicit judgments, Odd-one-out tasks allow psychophysical thresholds to be measured and compared directly across devices, algorithms, and user populations. Supported by NIH-R41-DC16578.

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