Franck ZAGALA's thesis defense

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Franck ZAGALA has defended his thesis at the Bibliothèque de l'Institut Jean Le Rond d'Alembert, at 9AM in Sorbonne Université - Campus Jussieu on Friday:

"Simplified Acoustic Simulations and Virtual Acoustics: Contributions to Virtual Navigation for the Visually Impaired".

 address: Bibliothèque de l'Institut Jean Le Rond d'Alembert -  Couloir 55-65   -  4ème étage

Sorbonne Université - Campus Jussieu
4 Place Jussieu, 
75005 Paris

with the jury:

Christoph Pörschmann Prof. TH Köln Rapporteur
Peter Svensson Prof. NTNU Rapporteur
Bruno Gas Prof. Sorbonne Université Examinateur
Lauri Savioja Prof. Aalto University Examinateur
Zühre Sü Gül Ass. Prof. Bilkent University Examinatrice
Jean-Dominique Polack Prof. Sorbonne Université Invité
Brian F. G. Katz DR CNRS Directeur
Markus Noisternig Chercheur IRCAM Co-encadrant


This thesis takes place within the RASPUTIN project and focuses on the development, evaluation and use of immersive acoustic virtual reality simulation tools for the purpose of helping blind individuals prepare in-situ navigations in unfamiliar reverberant environments.

While several assistive tools, such as sensory substitution devices, can provide spatial information during navigation, an alternative approach is to devise a real-time room acoustic simulation and auralization engine for use by blind individuals at home to enable them to virtually navigate in unfamiliar environments under controlled circumstances, hence building mental representations of these spaces prior to in-situ navigation.


In this thesis, I tackle three aspects of this subject.

The first part focuses on efficient simulations and auralizations of coupled volumes, which occur in many buildings of interest for navigation preparation (e.g. city halls, hospitals, or museums) and whose simulation and auralization can be challenging.

The second part focuses on the individualization of head related transfer functions, which is a necessary step in providing individualized and convincing auditory experiences.

Finally, the last part investigates some aspects of the space cognition following use of different learning paradigms, such as tactile maps.



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