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Press Release: July 2004
AuSIM has been awarded a new 6-month research contract ...

For more information, please contact:
AuSIM, Inc
William L. Chapin
+1 (650) 322-8746

July 15, 2004, Mt. View, CA -- AuSIM has been awarded a new 6-month research contract with the US Army under their STTR program, set up to facilitate the transfer of technology from University research groups to small firms in the private sector. AuSIM will be working with the University of Wisconsin to develop and implement biologically-inspired algorithms to determine the direction of origin of environmental sounds.

Situational awareness is critical for the soldier on the battlefield. Visual aids such as night vision goggles and infrared technology augment visual capabilities, but today's battlefield threats are often visually concealed while emitting intermittent audible sounds. So, AuSIM's new research initiative will investigate ways to augment aural capabilities to help determine the direction and range of a threat, which can include gunfire, airborne threats, ground vehicles, etc.

Several possible strategies for augmenting or remotely exercising aural capabilities will be investigated, and include:

Localization: Equipment to collect sound from multiple microphones will be coupled with algorithms to separate the direct sound waves from the reflected waves, and the direction of the sound origin will be calculated. This location information will then be communicated to the listener both visually and through a persistently rendered 3D audio cue. The information gathered from a location-finding mechanism is available to anyone connected to the system, so users wearing a networked source localization technology will also benefit from the information collected by other participants in the field.

Better Persistence: A threat may only make a single short sound, and it may occur while the soldier’s attention is elsewhere; the capability for recording and replaying a detected sound, or a representation, multiple times while preserving its directional characteristics will give the soldier additional opportunities to use his own localization skill to determine the direction of the sound.

Reverberation: A highly echoic environment increases the difficulty in discerning the direction of the original sound versus the direction of the reflections; algorithms to segregate the original sound from the reflections will allow persistent rendering of the original sound while removing the confusing reflections.

Occluded Hearing: Because soldiers’ hearing is often occluded by headgear such as hearing or ballistic protection, their situational awareness can be impaired. While partially occluding sound waves from the human ear can remove directional cues, multiple microphones with known directional transfer functions provide the data necessary for a localization algorithm to determine the position of the sound’s origin, and restore that knowledge to the human listener either visually or through a rendered audio cue.

The overall objectives of the new research effort are to study promising biologically inspired algorithms that 1) have the ability to localize multiple simultaneous sources, 2) are tolerant of environmental noise, 3) are energy efficient, and 4) can outperform human localization ability.

About the Army STTR program
The STTR Program, like SBIR, is a government-wide program, mandated by the Small Business Research and Development Enhancement Act of 1992. STTR was established as a companion program to the SBIR Program, and is executed in essentially the same manner; however, there are several distinct differences.

While STTR has the same objectives as SBIR regarding the involvement of small businesses in federal R&D and the commercialization of their innovative technologies, the STTR Program requires participation by universities, federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs), and other non-profit research institutions. Specifically, the STTR Program is designed to provide an incentive for small companies, and researchers at academic institutions and non-profit research institutions to: work together to move emerging technical ideas from the laboratory to the marketplace, foster high-tech economic development, and advance U.S. economic competitiveness. Each STTR proposal must be submitted by a team, which includes a small business (as the prime contractor for contracting purposes) and at least one research institution, which have entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement ...LEARN MORE

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