Interesting Patents: Verizon’s Virtual Reality Sound Patent

Methods and systems for generating audio for an extended reality world
U.S. Patent No. 11,082,796
Assignee: Verizon

 Immersion into virtual reality environments can take many shapes and forms. From fully immersive virtual reality experiences to augmented reality applications that can run on your phone. However, most of these technologies focus on the visual aspects of virtual reality, wouldn’t a fully immersive experience strive to stimulate as many senses as possible?

This week Verizon was issued a patent relating to bringing realistic sound to the virtual reality experience by simulating the propagation of different sound sources within the virtual reality environment to deliver the user with an accurate soundscape for their virtual reality experience.

What Verizon’s extended reality world patent would do

By monitoring the location of a user within a virtual reality environment, any time sound is produced, the system can determine the propagation effects that interact with the sound before it would reach the user. For example, if the user heard a sound through a wall, the system would determine how much to muffle the sound to make it really sound like it was coming through the wall. One challenge with determining acoustic propagation within a virtual reality environment is accurately ensuring that the sounds in the virtual world would properly translate to the real world. In more conventional video games where the experience is not as immersive, stereo sound will usually provide the user with an accurate soundscape. On the other hand, virtual reality requires an accurate binaural soundscape to enable users to interact with their virtual environment properly.

What makes this Verizon patent interesting

In recent years hardware manufacturers have provided users with systems that have allowed video games to become more realistic than ever before. Video games have recently seen a surge of innovation that provides users with more realistic experiences, from ray-tracing graphics that are more accurately able to reproduce lighting to the integration of AI into how games are rendered and executed. However, sound has been left behind with most of these recent developments. By creating a system that has the ability to recreate a soundscape within an extended reality environment accurately, this innovation provides the user with a new level of immersion. Whether it be when they are hanging out in a virtual reality club with their friends or remoting into a construction site andaccurately determininge where work is taking place in your surroundings, sound can be a key element to fully immersing a user within a virtual environment.Written by John DeStefano, Technical Advisor
and Lauren Hawksworth, Marketing Administrator

August 4, 2021