Vibrafloor: Sound-based Virtual Reality

Researchers: Joe Reitzer, Marcus Thiebaux

Using the CAVE Virtual Reality Theater as inspiration, Reitzer, an adjunct assistant professor in UIC’s School of Art and Design and a graduate of the EVL program, has constructed a sonic wave floor, “The Vibrafloor”, that premiered at the Digital Bayou venue at SIGGRAPH 96.

The “Vibrafloor” is a virtual audio real-time experience. Participants can interact with and create unique soundscapes in 3D space using a computer-controlled head and hand-tracking device. The virtual audio environment produces 3D localized sounds in four-channel surround-sound, creating a totally immersive audio environment. Participants are invited to stand, site or lay on the sonic wave floor, which vibrates in accordance with the sounds created.

Participants compose the audio experience by controlling what sounds are played, placed, and mixed. The sonic wave floor consists of tactile sound transducers that not only play the compositions, allow participants to feel some degree of audio-induced “massage.”

Sound and sonic vibration can enhance a broad range of visualization applications by augmenting complex visual data, or helping the deaf and blind experience VR by “feeling” sounds.


Date: January 1, 1996 - March 1, 1997
Participants on Vibrafloor - J. Reitzer, UIC

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