Introduction

Environmental sound carries a tremendous amount of both valuable and important information, e.g. in communication and for safety. Nevertheless, noise and useful sounds are frequently mixed and cause stress, danger, and health problems. It is therefore not only our goal to find the means to reliably read acoustic information but also actively augment the audible meaning it bears.

 

Dealing with distinct information hidden in environmental sounds requires a skilful combination of high quality microphone (sensor) systems, sophisticated new signal processing and sound design techniques, future technology, and fundamental research. In this regard, substantial progress is only thinkable when a critical mass of several excellent scientific and industrial partners collaborates intensively. A successful former consortium (Project AAP) is expanded to exceed this critical mass.

 

In this project, all competence is brought together for successful sensing and design of environmental noises and sounds. This opens innovation potential for inexpensive and intelligent acoustic sensing and for the active design of an enhanced audio ambience. Intelligent sensing will increase safety by its rapid and remote detection of harmful incidents. Combined with computer simulations, sensing will further facilitate and speed up production processes. Augmented hearing is achieved by combining sensed information with the active generation of supportive sounds, e.g. in silent electrified cars whose physical state is otherwise hard to hear. Useful sounds such as speech are often corrupted by the acoustical environment. Existing enhancement methods will be improved by intelligent acoustic signal processing. Primary goals are increasing the audio quality, protecting listeners from harmful noises, and enlarging the recording distance to provide a bigger freedom of motion around recording devices.

 

To efficiently pursue the proposed goals, we propose the broad collaboration on several work packages with synergetic effects. The project consortium involves diverse sectors (research, development, product manufacturers, component manufacturers) incorporating the fundamental research and applied research expertise of the scientific partners and the research, development, and component as well as product manufacturing expertise of the industrial partners.