The Audio Engineering Society’s Technical Council (AESTC) has formed a new group to advance the science and application of Audio for New Realities. The group will serve the needs of the audio community working in virtual, augmented and mixed reality environments.

“New realities” covers a whole gamut of application areas including film, games, music, communications, medicine, forensics, simulations, education, and virtual tourism. The technical requirements for new realities cover obvious areas such as spatial audio and synthesis but extend beyond into audio networking, semantic audio, perception, broadcast, and online delivery. There will therefore be a need for good cooperation with existing AESTC Technical Committees providing leadership in related disciplines.
Dr. Gavin Kearney, leader of AES Technical Committee Group On Audio for New Realities

The group will initially operate under the Audio for Games Technical Committee. “This is an exciting and new area for the AES as an organization,” said technical council vice-chair Michael Kelly. “A large number of our society’s members already have strong expertise in this emerging area. The Games Technical Committee is a great starting point for the group, but it is not the endpoint. We are seeking expert stakeholders in all application areas. We are looking at synergies across these areas but also at what makes them unique.”

Dr. Gavin Kearney, researcher and lecturer at the University of York, has been appointed as the group leader. “We’ve asked Gavin to lead this group, as it is an area close to his heart, and also as he is well connected with key industry members while retaining a degree of objectivity in his academic position,” Kelly said.

“A core responsibility of the group will be to define a roadmap for the AES to address emergent applications in new realities,” Kearney said. “The group will consist of industry professionals working at the forefront of commercial technologies for virtual, augmented, and mixed realities, as well as key academics in the field whose audio research crosses new multidisciplinary boundaries. Our initial objectives will include collating the state of the art in audio for new realities across recording, composition, sound design, spatial audio, environmental analysis, and auditory scene synthesis, in order to develop technical workflows that are practical and relevant to the industry and creative practitioners in the field.”   

“The AES has a legacy of embracing emerging audio applications and markets,” said AES president, Alex U. Case. “That includes audio for virtual, augmented, and mixed reality, where there’s so much excitement and progress. Beginning with the landmark AES AVAR Conference, AES has focused the expertise, knowledge, and skill of its membership on the vast range of creative possibilities to be explored and the breadth of technical challenges to solve in this fledgling market sector. 

“Conference chairs Andres Mayo and Linda Gedemer did a great job of engaging the best minds in audio with the rich pool of talent involved in new reality production. While the field is so young and dynamic that people don’t even know yet what to call AR/VR/MR, we’re continuing AES’s market leadership with two solid tracks at the Berlin and New York conventions. Expanding our Technical Council to address these new realities, with leadership by Dr. Kearney, is further evidence of AES’s commitment to the future.”