AES Section Meeting Reports

Ireland - June 10, 2019

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17:30-18:00 SpADE tour
Attendees were treated to a tour of the University of Limerick's Spatialization and Auditory Display Environment (SpADE) by principal investigator and AES member Dr. Kerry Hagan. This impressive 32.2 channel system comprises the highest resolution loudspeaker array in the Republic of Ireland and is designed for both artistic and perceptual research. The facility is open to visiting researchers and particularly welcomes spatial audio research projects.

18:00-19:00 Lightning talks
Five short talks of 8 minutes duration were followed by 2 minutes of questions. Rokaia, Joe, Ronan, and Tom are researchers in the Interactive Systems Research Group (ISRG) located in Limerick Institute of Technology. Dave is a researcher in the Digital Media and Arts Research Centre (DMARC) at the University of Limerick.

Speaker 1: Rokaia Jedir
Title: Towards a Computational Model of Auditory Working Memory
Rokaia described her current research exploring the design of a computational model of working memory that incorporates psychoacoustic principles, attention maintenance, capacity limits, and links to long-term memory. She provided an overview of the findings of a user-study examining auditory-disruption during concurrent visual recall tasks.

Speaker 2: Joe Fitzpatrick
Title: The Perceptually Congruent Sonification (PerCS) Framework
Joe's talk described his work towards the provision of accessible web-based guidelines that facilitate the design of sonification applications. Designed to be used with existing sonification strategies, his research focuses on how stream segregation affects sonification applications with multiple auditory streams. The overall goal is to link relevant perceptual phenomena to sonification mappings and provide a systematic approach to identifying and addressing perceptually-driven problems in applied sonification.

Speaker 3: Ronan O'Dea
Title: A Computational Model of the Perception of Reverberant Cues
Ronan's presentation described his work to develop a computational model of reverberant environments. This model will be used to develop a machine-learning implementation that identifies and classifies sound sources in reverberant environments. One attendee inquired whether Ronan had considered using this model in Augmented reality applications and this is one of the intended applications for this model.

Speaker 4: Tom Brophy
Title: A Modular Weighted Model to Resolve Opposing Perceptual Cues in Auditory Scene Analysis
Tom described his work towards modelling the methods that the auditory system uses to form a coherent auditory stream from competing auditory cues. The novelty in this model is the use of a weighting system to resolve opposing perceptual cues. Furthermore, the modular nature of this model facilitates its implementation in machine hearing systems that can be used to detect and predict events of biological significance.

Speaker 5: Dave O'Mahony
Title: Real-time Manipulation of Synthesis Parameters using a Brainwave Interface and a Eurorack Modular Synthesizer
Dave delivered an informal presentation and demonstration of a brainwave controlled Eurorack modular synthesiser. A laptop running Max/MSP software receives input from a user wearing an Interaxon muse (bluetooth) brainwave sensing headband. These electrical signals vary depending on the action of the performer or their emotional state. A Max/MSP patch transforms these signals into 4 discrete control voltages and these are connected to a mofular synthesiser via a mutable Instruments CV-P interface. These control voltages are then processed in a Eurorack modular synthesiser according to the composer's aesthetic preference. Attendees were invited to experiment with this synthesiser.

19:15-19:45: Main Presentation
Speaker: Simon Jennings
Title: Noise Action Plan 2018-2023
Simon described the steps being taken by Limerick City & County Council to avoid, prevent, and reduce noise exposure as outlined in the Environmental Noise directive (2002/49/EC). This directive includes provisions for train passages, airplane take off and landings, and road usage but only road use is relevant to Limerick due to the size of the region. Simon elaborated on the work done to estimate and map population exposure to various noise bands and identify noise hotspots. Simon then explained how these hotspots were further assessed using noise modelling and onsite monitoring in order to identify potential mitigation measures and deliver a cost-benefit analysis for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII). The policy measures to prevent noise exposure and protect 'quiet areas' were outlined and Simon finished by highlighting the issues arising during the execution of this plan and how they will feed into their approach to the next Noise Action Plan.

One attendee enquired as to whether a noise action plan was mandatory for each council and Simon stated that it was voluntary. Another attendee asked whether this approach be formalised into a quantitative rating of noise for a house like BER? Simon suggested that this would be suitable at an executive level but public sentiment would not be positive if the rating was impacting the price of their homes.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society