Sounding Obstacles for Social Distance Sonification

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperAcademic

3 Citations (Scopus)


This article reports the results of an experiment (N = 10) that employs continuous auditory feedback to influence participants’ routing choices while walking between two points by sonifying their interactions with invisible obstacles. A relative distance parameter, proximity, is defined and mapped simultaneously to perceived loudness and amplitude modulation frequencies of sine tones. The proximity parameter is divided into three sections: slow modulation, border zone, and fast modulation. The slow and fast modulation sections generate a monotonic relationship between proximity values and the resulting psychoacoustic parameters: fluctuation strength and roughness. A social distance sonification case study in a laboratory experiment evaluated the effectiveness of the generated hearing sensations and explored participants’ experiences through a semi-structured interview. The quantitative results show that the non-spatial, psychoacoustically-inspired sonification mappings successfully influenced participants’ routing choices during the experiental task of walking. On the other hand, the semi-structured interview revealed that participants ascribed a pleasantness/annoyance attribute to presented sounds, which was not intended.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 6 Sept 2022
Event17th International Audio Mostly Conference, AM'22 - St. Pölten, Austria
Duration: 6 Sept 20229 Sept 2022
Conference number: 17


Conference17th International Audio Mostly Conference, AM'22
Abbreviated titleAM'22
CitySt. Pölten


  • Sonification
  • Guidance
  • Psychoacoustics
  • Guidance technologies


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