updated 03:11 am EDT, Sat June 7, 2014
Our imagined future is getting closer everyday with VR and 3D audio
Electronista has had the opportunity to go hands-on with the Oculus Rift VR headset, courtesy of AMD in order to the capabilities of AMD's new TrueAudio digital signal processing that comes built-in on some of its newest GPU and APU cores. What is particularly special about the demo we experienced with AMD at Computex Taipei is they way it has worked with partner GenAudio AstoundSound, using its 3D sound localization cue technology, to make the Oculus Rift experience even more incredible and immersive. We have also embedded a video below to give you a sense of this amazing technology works.
By now, most readers will be very familiar with the way the Oculus Rift works. Launched as a Kickstater crowdfunding effort in the middle of 2012, it already has in excess of 75,000 orders. The device brings to life the long-standing dream of bring virtual reality gaming and other experiences to life. It is so impressive, that even in prototype stage, Facebook has moved to acquire the fledgling company for a monumental $2 billion. Our taste with the Tuscany demo drops you into a digital setting next to a Tuscany villa. You can move around the villa, as seen in the video below, with numerous digitally recreated life-like objects including birds and butterflies popping up in gorgeous 3D.
However, while the Oculus Rift VR experience is immersive in its own right, the effect of adding 3D sound takes it to a whole new level. With a set of stereo speakers hooked up to your computer, you get a sense of how this works in the embedded video. It makes the whole experience much more realistic and life-like. For example, when turning towards the sound of water running, you can hear it in stereo. However, if you move your left or right, the sound decreases in one ear or the other as it would in real-life. Move past the running water and it sounds like it is coming from behind you. It is truly impressive.
AMD was keen to point out that its TrueAudio technology helps to make this possible. By building a DSP into its GPUs, or APUs with integrated graphics, it offloads audio processing from the CPU, freeing it up for running other processes more optimally. It has also allowed AMD to develop APIs for software developers to leverage in the apps with much greater control and flexibility including programmable sound effects. Coupled with the VR experience delivered by the Oculus Rift, AMD TrueAudio and GenAudio's AstoundSound, the future of virtual reality gaming and other audio-visual content is both looking and sounding spectacular.