IT’S A DIVE (standing for Individual Three-dimensional Spatial Auditory Displays for Immersive Virtual Environments) is a European research project funded at Aalborg University Copenhagen within the Horizon 2020 Marie SkÅ‚odowska-Curie Actions – Individual Fellowships programme (H2020-MSCA-IF-2017).

In IT’S A DIVE extremely innovative techniques for binaural sound rendering have been developed, following a multidisciplinary approach encompassing different research areas such as computer science, acoustics, and psychology. The focus of the research program has been on structural modeling of head-related transfer functions (HRTFs), i.e. a family of state-of-the-art modeling techniques that overcome the current limitations of headphone-based 3D audio systems. The customization of the HRTF model based on the user’s anthropometry grants to any user a low-cost and real-time fruition of realistic individual 3D audio, previously only possible with expensive equipment and invasive recording procedures.

The main objective of the research program has been the definition and experimental validation, through subjective psychophysical tests, of a completely customizable model for binaural sound presentation, which is today still missing in the literature on spatial audio. The technical focus has been on the exploitation of a vast number of public HRTF databases, including custom controlled acoustical measurements, and of state-of-the-art machine learning techniques in order to customize HRTFs by incorporating prior knowledge on the relation between HRTF features and anthropometry.

The research program has represented an innovative breakthrough for a plethora of applications, e.g. personal cinema, teleconferencing and teleoperation systems, electronic travel aids, and computer games.