NTT DOCOMO developed a mobile spatial audio transmission technology that enables a mobile phone user to assign a spatial position to each sound source when listening to multiple sound sources, such as during a game or a conference call.
The technology enables a user listening with headphones to hear each speaker’s voice as if it were coming from a unique direction, creating a virtual face-to-face communication environment.
DOCOMO, which is continuing to research and develop the technology for eventual commercialization, foresees applications including mobile conference calls, tele-education and online games.
While existing spatial audio transmission technologies independently process audio encoding/decoding and spatial audio synthesis, the new technology offers a more efficient method by integrating the two processes, thereby minimizing bitrate (or bandwidth) and computation loads suitable for mobile phones and other resource-limited devices.
The processes are collaboratively performed on both the server and client sides. The server identifies the important sound components of each speaker’s voice, compresses them efficiently into a single stream and transmits it to the mobile phones. Each phone then decodes the received stream and simultaneously synthesizes spatial audio images.
DOCOMO will demonstrate its new spatial audio transmission technology using docomo PRO series HT-01A handsets during Wireless Technology Park 2009 at Pacifico Yokohama on May 12 and 13.