Exploring visual-to-auditory sensory substitution mappings in an immersive virtual reality navigation paradigm
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Participants should be healthy volunteers with full sight and full stereo hearing. The choice to test a fully-sighted participant group had a two-fold motivation: firstly, the test group should be able to provide a visual control condition in our experiments by performing the navigation task with access to visual information in each virtual environment. Secondly, the group should take the first step given that this is a proof-of-principle study exploring novel sonification methods for 3D spatial representation and navigation within a new experimental paradigm.
Participants will have access to spatially navigating to randomized endpoints in VR environments, using each of the developed visual-to-audio mappings (sonification conditions), or using visual information (visual-only baseline condition). Two types of VR environments are needed: a maze and an obstacle corridor.
- Virtual environments offer the ability to build randomized environments and obstacles on the fly which is an advantage over real-world testing.
- Using a virtual environment bypasses the problem of detecting the 3D structure of the environment, allowing us to focus on the methods of conveying such spatial information to our participants.