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A mixed-reality approach to soundscape assessment of outdoor urban environments augmented with natural sounds

Hong, JY; Lam, B; Ong, ZT; Ooi, K; Gan, WS; Kang, J; Yeong, S; ... Tan, ST; + view all (2021) A mixed-reality approach to soundscape assessment of outdoor urban environments augmented with natural sounds. Building and Environment , 194 , Article 107688. 10.1016/j.buildenv.2021.107688. Green open access

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Abstract

To investigate the effect of augmenting natural sounds in noisy environments, an in-situ experiment was conducted using a mixed-reality head-mounted display (MR HMD). Two outdoor locations close to an expressway were selected for the experiment. A natural sound (birdsong or stream) along with a hologram (sparrow/fountain or loudspeaker) was projected through the MR HMD. Participants were asked to adjust the natural sound levels to their preferred level under ambient traffic noise conditions at each location. Participants also assessed the perceived loudness of traffic (PLN) and overall soundscape quality (OSQ) in conditions with and without the augmented natural sounds. The results showed that both natural sounds significantly reduced the PLN and enhanced the OSQ. No significant differences in subjective responses were found between the loudspeaker and visual representations of the natural sound source as holograms. Analysis on the preferred signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), i.e. ratio of natural sound to traffic levels, indicated a strong negative correlation between the preferred SNRs and ambient traffic noise levels. Overall, the preferred SNR of the birdsong was significantly higher than that of the water sound. Among the acoustic parameters tested, the A-weighted traffic noise level was the strongest predictor for the preferred SNR of both the birdsong and water sound. However, the correlation for the water sound was relatively higher than the birdsong. This was due to the larger variance in the subjective evaluation for the birdsong.

Type: Article
Title: A mixed-reality approach to soundscape assessment of outdoor urban environments augmented with natural sounds
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.buildenv.2021.107688
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.buildenv.2021.107688
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.
Keywords: Soundscape, Soundscape intervention, Acoustic environment, Natural sounds, Augmented reality, Mixed reality
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School Env, Energy and Resources
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10123235
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