Virtual collaboration, in the form of video or telephone conferencing, is to some degree aiming at reproducing a real-life meeting, but technological shortcomings sofar make it a less than perfect reproduction with limitations for both media types that ar e transferred, video and audio. A most severe bottleneck for the Quality of Experience (QoE) is the audio capturing since the perceived speech quality at the receiving end depends critically on the amount of room reverberation and noise which is picked up at the sending end. Therefore this project aims at understanding the factors that influence the QoE in a video conference situation, including, for instance, listening diffulty and/or speech intelligibility, naturalness, freedom of echo and feedback arte facts, sense of immersion and presence etc. This understanding will be used in both the development of a microphone array, and the development of an ultrasonic person tracking system which can be used as optional tracking devices.A spherical multi-elemen t microphone array approach will be used, decomposing the sound field into orthogonal components. This approach offers a scaleable solution which can simulate anything from a single microphone to a state-of-the-art multi-channel microphone. Directivity sy nthesis algorithms will be developed taking reverberation, noise and feedback suppression into account. Ultrasonic tracking devices will build on existing technologies but the possibility to employ microphone array techniques for ultrasound tracking will be explored as well.The objectives of QUEVIRCO are uniquely attainable through the combined efforts of the acoustics groups at NTNU and SINTEF, together with industrial partners TANDBERG and Sonitor Technologies, cutting-edge manufacturers of video confe rence equipment, and ultrasonic indoor positioning systems, respectively.
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