How to turn heads: The essential need for positional audio in immersive learning

The opportunities of 360 video and virtual reality (VR) are in designing highly immersive experiences for people to explore.

The ability to transport ourselves in this way extends the possibilities for engaging learners. But if the sound doesn’t align with the visuals, our brains will not be properly convinced. 3D positional audio greatly improves the delivery of a truly immersive experience. Combined with the visuals, it is the sound that creates that ultimate feeling of presence.

Our human ears pick-up audio in three dimensions and our brains process multiple cues to identify where a sound is and what it might mean. One of the most basic cues is how close something is and where it’s positioned, which we do far more effectively with our ears than our eyes. The auditory cortex is where all this information is processed. Other parts of the brain then identify a sound by comparing it to our memories of what have heard before, and then we decide our response.

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