The BBC has launched an experimental web app for listening to, personalising, and making immersive soundscapes using the BBC Sound Effects library.
The Soundscape Explorer is available on BBC Taster and includes five different soundscapes as well as the ability to create your own.
In a blog post, the BBC R&D team said the Soundscape Explorer tool decodes a shared link to grab the sounds from the sound effects library and then positions them (randomly) in 3D space to be explored. If the listener is using the app on a mobile device, moving the device can change the viewpoint.
The team created a prototype using visual augmented reality, with a visual representation of the sounds in the mix layered on top of the camera view of the space
“We decided to work in the browser and to prototype ideas from the workshop quickly we relied on existing open-source software: Google’s Resonance library for dynamic spatial audio rendering and the AFrame toolkit for describing relatively simple virtual and augmented reality scenes,” the team explain.
“We could quickly create an explorable 3D scene visualising the sound effect positions on top of the real world camera view and render them to a binaural headphone signal. However, there were some stumbling blocks: the experimental WebXR API is not yet available on Apple devices, and enabling the camera view on our Android phones tended to interfere with the performance of the audio rendering.”
Instead, the project was launched on BBC Taster in order to make it available to as wider an audience as possible.