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In collaboration with Fraunhofer IDMT, the Max-Planck Institute for Human Development (MPIB) has been experimenting with wave-field synthesis (WFS) setups to create immersive sound environments. Wave-field synthesis allows for the creation of sound waves from any given point of origin by superimposing a large set of individual, elementary sound waves. This occurs in real space without the need for simulated Head-Related Transfer Functions (HRTF).

My task was to explore how this technology could be combined with virtual reality (VR) to enhance ecological validity through highly immersive sound setups.

The experimental WFS setup at MPIB consisted of 64 loudspeakers and three subwoofers. This is what it looks like:


For the first prototype, I created a simple game where the player is placed in a large, bar-like room with telephones positioned at various locations. The objective is for the player to identify which telephone is ringing. Here’s a demonstration of this prototype:

The initial prototype provided valuable insights and observations, which you can read about in detail here. These findings led to the development of numerous subsequent prototypes with varying selection mechanics.


The project ultimately culminated in a version that utilizes hand-tracking for selection and features an audio guide to assist participants throughout the experiment. Take a look at the final prototype below:

[ -- COMING SOON -- ]