An Experiment on the Feasibility of Spatial Acquisition using a Moving Auditory Cue for Pedestrian Navigation
Audio augmented reality systems overlay the physical world with a virtual audio space. Today's smartphones provide enough processing power to create the impression of virtual sound sources being located in the real world. To achieve this, information about the user's location and orientation is necessary which requires additional hardware. In a real-world installation, however, we observed that instead of turning their head to localize sounds, users tend to turn their entire body. Therefore, we suggest to simply measure orientation of the user's body - or even just the mobile device she is holding - to generate the spatial audio. To verify this approach, we present two studies: Our first study in examines the user's head, body, and mobile device orientation when moving through an audio augmented reality system in a lab setting. Our second study analyzes the user experience in a real-world installation when using head, body, or device orientation to control the audio spatialization. We found that when navigating close to sound sources head tracking is necessary, but that it can potentially be replaced by device tracking in larger or more explorative usage scenarios. These findings help reduce the technical complexity of mobile audio augmented reality systems (MAARS), and enable their wider dissemination as mobile software-only apps.