University of

Background and justification of the project

Sound is everywhere, outside in our dense cities, inside houses and offices, and inside vehicles. Noise is the unwanted sound, and WHO has quantified the adverse health effects of noise [1]. Sources of sound are changing continuously, e.g. in the near future drones will enter our cities and residential buildings will be equipped with heat pumps. It is a task of engineers to reduce noise exposure. At the same time, the effect of the built environment has to support sound for functions as speech and music, i.e. the acoustics of spaces has to be engineered such that it is optimal for these purposes.

As sound is present in many engineering applications, and relevant if humans are involved, it is a component of many multidisciplinary challenge based problems. This proposal is about the transfer of sound from its source to the human ears, i.e. the acoustics of indoor/outdoor spaces. Naturally, acoustics is related to many challenges related to the built environment, but also manry other challenges as in the automotive sector are relevant.

Typically, challenges in the built environment are tackled with visual tools, in order to inspect the consequence of engineering and design choices in the process of solving the problem. If acoustics is involved and needs to be addressed, bachelor students are mostly coached to take acoustics into account in a conceptual way. Furthermore, they are thaught to carry out basic calculations of for example sound levels of the reverberation time of spaces (related to the duration of the ‘echo’ in rooms). The problems with this approach are:

Acoustic Virtual Reality (AVR) is an emerging tool in the research community of building acoustics. AVR provides both visual and acoustic VR in 3D. At the moment, multiple groups worldwide are developing AVR tools, and the Building Acoustics group led by prof. Hornikx is one of the leading groups. Recently, the Building Acoustics group presented a demo at the Dutch Design Week [2] where visitors could experience AVR of two real spaces, in which there own voice was played back in real-time.

The AVR exhibited as a demo on the DDW2019. Subjects were virtually offered a space both visually as acoustically. The acoustics of the space were triggered by real-time reproduction of the subject’s voice in the space.

AVR is still under development, and as far as the author knows the use of AVR in academic education has not been introduced.

Objectives and expected outcomes of the project

The objective of this project is to develop Acoustic Virtual Realty (AVR) as a tool for evaluating noise and sound in indoor and outdoor spaces for educational purposes, such that indoor/outdoor spaces can be evaluated perceptually in CBL projects where acoustics is involved. The tool also serves as a learning tool for the meaning of sound in spaces, the consequences of material choice, room geometries etc.

The added educational value of this project:

The outcomes of this project are as follows:

Project design and management


The Building Acoustics research group is carrying out research to develop the AVR as a mature tool in the building industry [2,3]. The AVR tool for educational purposes is a spin-off of this ongoing research: the current state-of-art of the AVR development in the Building Acoustics group will be adopted for development on an AVR for CBL eduction at TU/e. The work in the project will be undertaken by the following persons:

Dissemination and sustainability of the project

The AVR developed in this project is applicable to all CBL projects involving acoustics in the built environment, and thereby can be used in other project courses in the 2nd and 3rd year as well, and moreover in masterprojects in acoustics. The usage of the tool is therefore generic.

Moreover, as this is also internationally a unique project, we foresee that it will get very good attention from foreign universities.

The dissemination actions are as follows:

Results and learnings

This project is currently still ongoing


Full Professor
Maarten Hornikx
Vertigo 06.17
+31 40 247 4236