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The detection of ‘virtual’ objects using echoes by humans: spectral cues

The detection of ‘virtual’ objects using echoes by humans: spectral cues
The detection of ‘virtual’ objects using echoes by humans: spectral cues
Some blind people use echoes to detect discrete, silent objects to support their spatial orientation/navigation, independence, safety and wellbeing. The acoustical features that people use for this are not well understood. Listening to changes in spectral shape due to the presence of an object could be important for object detection and avoidance, especially at short range, although it is currently not known whether it is possible with echolocation-related sounds. Bands of noise were convolved with recordings of binaural impulse responses of objects in an anechoic chamber to create ‘virtual objects’, which were analysed and played to sighted and blind listeners inexperienced in echolocation. The sounds were also manipulated to remove cues unrelated to spectral shape. Most listeners could accurately detect hard flat objects using changes in spectral shape. The useful spectral changes for object detection occurred above approximately 3 kHz, as with object localisation. However, energy in the sounds below 3 kHz was required to exploit changes in spectral shape for object detection, whereas energy below 3 kHz impaired object localisation. Further recordings showed that the spectral changes were diminished by room reverberation. While good high-frequency hearing is generally important for echolocation, the optimal echo-generating stimulus will probably depend on the task.
0378-5955
205-216
Rowan, Daniel
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Papadopoulos, Timoleon
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Archer, Lauren
ad558e23-8b3c-4dd8-bf36-b62286d5dd73
Goodhew, Amanda
75ecae72-1ed4-4d43-af52-616143a7b98e
Cozens, Hayley
c80bb04b-43f5-48f1-9b87-6e506b2966a4
Guzman Lopez, Ricardo
293ec3ab-cc79-49ea-8cca-e6bcb65f96ae
Edwards, David
a4332421-52d9-4f68-b708-bf902a6eed9c
Holmes, Hannah
e6daf96b-f847-4127-8491-dbfd15db2869
Allen, Robert
956a918f-278c-48ef-8e19-65aa463f199a
Rowan, Daniel
5a86eebe-53da-4cd2-953e-e3ca1ae61578
Papadopoulos, Timoleon
d1af8c5a-f58c-44c8-a4bb-6d2ad9695f95
Archer, Lauren
ad558e23-8b3c-4dd8-bf36-b62286d5dd73
Goodhew, Amanda
75ecae72-1ed4-4d43-af52-616143a7b98e
Cozens, Hayley
c80bb04b-43f5-48f1-9b87-6e506b2966a4
Guzman Lopez, Ricardo
293ec3ab-cc79-49ea-8cca-e6bcb65f96ae
Edwards, David
a4332421-52d9-4f68-b708-bf902a6eed9c
Holmes, Hannah
e6daf96b-f847-4127-8491-dbfd15db2869
Allen, Robert
956a918f-278c-48ef-8e19-65aa463f199a

Rowan, Daniel, Papadopoulos, Timoleon, Archer, Lauren, Goodhew, Amanda, Cozens, Hayley, Guzman Lopez, Ricardo, Edwards, David, Holmes, Hannah and Allen, Robert (2017) The detection of ‘virtual’ objects using echoes by humans: spectral cues. Hearing Research, 350, 205-216. (doi:10.1016/j.heares.2017.04.008).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Some blind people use echoes to detect discrete, silent objects to support their spatial orientation/navigation, independence, safety and wellbeing. The acoustical features that people use for this are not well understood. Listening to changes in spectral shape due to the presence of an object could be important for object detection and avoidance, especially at short range, although it is currently not known whether it is possible with echolocation-related sounds. Bands of noise were convolved with recordings of binaural impulse responses of objects in an anechoic chamber to create ‘virtual objects’, which were analysed and played to sighted and blind listeners inexperienced in echolocation. The sounds were also manipulated to remove cues unrelated to spectral shape. Most listeners could accurately detect hard flat objects using changes in spectral shape. The useful spectral changes for object detection occurred above approximately 3 kHz, as with object localisation. However, energy in the sounds below 3 kHz was required to exploit changes in spectral shape for object detection, whereas energy below 3 kHz impaired object localisation. Further recordings showed that the spectral changes were diminished by room reverberation. While good high-frequency hearing is generally important for echolocation, the optimal echo-generating stimulus will probably depend on the task.

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1-s2.0-S0378595516303240-main - Accepted Manuscript
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Rowan et al 2017 HearRes echolocation - Version of Record
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.
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HEARES_2016_301_Revision 2_V0
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 14 April 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 27 April 2017
Published date: 27 April 2017
Organisations: Human Sciences Group, Inst. Sound & Vibration Research, Southampton Marine & Maritime Institute

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 408053
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/408053
ISSN: 0378-5955
PURE UUID: 053ce7b7-42af-4f84-b9a6-d2af59d4b275
ORCID for Daniel Rowan: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-7190-9997

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 10 May 2017 01:07
Last modified: 06 Feb 2020 01:27

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