Date of Award

8-2006

Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering

Department

Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering (to 2013)

First Advisor

Dr. Koorosh Naghshineh

Second Advisor

Dr. Philip Guichelaar

Third Advisor

Dr. William Wiener

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access

Abstract

Research in to human hearing has been very ‘laboratory’ oriented in the sense that the test environments do not replicate most ‘real world’ situations [J.C. Middlebrooks and D.M. Green, Ann. Rev. of Psychology, 42, 135-159 (1991)]. While very useful information is gained from these types of tests, it is difficult to see how ‘real world’ situations affect sound source localization, recognition, and navigation (walking/way finding) performance. Such information is especially important to people who are visually impaired and dependent on prior knowledge of the environment or audio cues for travel. The research reported here was conducted during the development of an audiobased navigation system. The question that arose was, “what constitutes ‘good’ attractor sounds versus ‘bad’ sounds?” A series of physical tests were developed to identify sounds that performed best from within a group of ‘real-world’ attractor sounds. Testing was conducted with the aid of participants who were blind or visually impaired. The attractor sounds were compared in the time- and frequency-domains to identify common characteristics. Results of the experiments were consistent with those of Landau, et al. [S. Landau, et. al., Asst. Technology, 17, 133-143 (2005)].

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