The medical study showed how a certain type of immersive audio improves virtual reality for users, with benefits including improved ability to localize objects and events.

Bongiovi Medical & Health Technologies‘ (BMHT) medical team presented the findings of a groundbreaking study that has wide-ranging implications for VR users in healthcare, gaming, training, and entertainment. The study results were presented at the International Virtual Reality and Healthcare Global Symposium at Penn Medicine on March 5, 2023. The focus of the study, the first of its kind, was to determine how immersive audio provided by Bongiovi’s patented Digital Power Station (DPS) audio processing solutions enhanced the virtual reality user experience.

“These results indicate the efficacy and enhanced value of improving audio immersion in a wide variety of VR and AR applications, including medical/clinical therapeutics, all types of training, education, and of course gaming and entertainment,” says Dr James Hughes. “The more lifelike and immersive the audio, the more realistic and effective the overall experience.”

Related: Virtual Reality Technology Is Viable for Treating Upper Limb Dysfunction in MS Patients

BMHT collaborated with University of Geneva, the International Red Cross, and EMTEQ Labs to do the study. DPS’ VR solutions include real-time audio remastering of the audio content; V3D audio imaging; enhanced speech intelligibility; and immersive, natural, accurate, 360-degree audio localization.

“I am extremely excited by what I saw in the presentation of the study results. It has many applications in VR,” says Walter Greenleaf, PhD, medical VR/AR expert, Stanford University Virtual Human Interaction Lab.

The study was conducted at University of Geneva and the impact on the VR user was determined in terms of immersion (presence) and emotional activation (valence). Test subjects were exposed to program material in “DPS on/enhanced settings” and “DPS off/normal settings.” Test data was collected in two separate ways:

  • Self-reported survey ratings from test subjects, and
  • Objective physiologic data obtained from EMTEQ Labs headsets, which acquires and analyzes biodata such as heart rate, breathing, head and face motion, and eye movement.

The study results show that DPS-enhanced audio provided several important enhancements to the overall VR experience, including:

  • increased immersion
  • increased presence and valence
  • increased physiological responses (heart rate, breathing, etc)
  • improved ability to localize objects and events
  • a higher quality HD audio experience.

“We always take a multidisciplinary, scientific approach to our research. This study shows our VR solutions have the potential to improve patient outcomes in therapeutic VR applications,” says Daniel Weiss, MD, BMHT’s chief medical officer. “We knew we had something special with our immersive audio solutions, and the study results confirm this.”