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Proceedings Paper

Can the perception of depth in stereoscopic images be influenced by 3D sound?
Author(s): Amy Turner; Jonathan Berry; Nick Holliman
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Paper Abstract

The creation of binocular images for stereoscopic display has benefited from significant research and commercial development in recent years. However, perhaps surprisingly, the effect of adding 3D sound to stereoscopic images has rarely been studied. If auditory depth information can enhance or extend the visual depth experience it could become an important way to extend the limited depth budget on all 3D displays and reduce the potential for fatigue from excessive use of disparity. Objective: As there is limited research in this area our objective was to ask two preliminary questions. First what is the smallest difference in forward depth that can be reliably detected using 3D sound alone? Second does the addition of auditory depth information influence the visual perception of depth in a stereoscopic image? Method: To investigate auditory depth cues we use a simple sound system to test the experimental hypothesis that: participants will perform better than chance at judging the depth differences between two speakers a set distance apart. In our second experiment investigating both auditory and visual depth cues we setup a sound system and a stereoscopic display to test the experimental hypothesis that: participants judge a visual stimulus to be closer if they hear a closer sound when viewing the stimulus. Results: In the auditory depth cue trial every depth difference tested gave significant results demonstrating that the human ear can hear depth differences between physical sources as short as 0.25 m at 1 m. In our trial investigating whether audio information can influence the visual perception of depth we found that participants did report visually perceiving an object to be closer when the sound was played closer to them even though the image depth remained unchanged. Conclusion: The positive results in the two trials show that we can hear small differences in forward depth between sound sources and suggest that it could be practical to extend the apparent depth in a stereoscopic image by using 3D sound, providing a controlled way to compensate for the depth budget limits on 3D displays.

Paper Details

Date Published: 15 February 2011
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 7863, Stereoscopic Displays and Applications XXII, 786307 (15 February 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.871960
Show Author Affiliations
Amy Turner, Durham Univ. (United Kingdom)
Jonathan Berry, Durham Univ. (United Kingdom)
Nick Holliman, Durham Univ. (United Kingdom)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7863:
Stereoscopic Displays and Applications XXII
Andrew J. Woods; Nicolas S. Holliman; Neil A. Dodgson, Editor(s)

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