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Suitability of Bone Conduction Headphones for Virtual Acoustic Environments

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This paper presents a study on the use of bone conduction headphones (BCHs) as an alternative device for augmented (AR) and mixed (MR) reality scenarios, as they have the advantage of keeping the user in contact with the real acoustic environment since their ears are unobstructed. Experiments regarding localization accuracy were conducted using different Head-Related Transfer Functions (HRTFs), including individualized simulated ones, and with a set of transducers comprising two different models of BCHs and a regular pair of air conduction headphones (ACHs). In terms of azimuth localization accuracy, BCHs do not appear to differ significantly from ACHs, but numerically simulated individual HRTFs are preferable over generic HRTFs and simplified individual HRTFs. With respect to elevation localization accuracy, BCHs that transmit signals well in the higher frequency range are necessary to achieve similar results to ACHs.

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