Mapping a room in a snap

Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) have developed an algorithm that makes it possible to measure the dimensions of a room using a few microphones and a snap of the fingers. The microphones pick up the direct sound from the source, as well as the echoes arriving from various walls. EPFL’s Ivan Dokmanic says the algorithm compares the signal from each microphone and analyzes the lag times to calculate the distance between the microphones, as well as the distance from each microphone to the walls and the sound source. In addition, by analyzing each echo’s signal using “Euclidean distance matrices,” the system can tell whether the echo is rebounding for the first or second time and determine the unique “signature” of each of the walls. “Architects could use this to design rooms–for example concert halls or auditoriums–based upon the specific acoustics they would like to create,” Dokmanic says. He also notes the algorithm could be used in mobile devices to determine location information inside buildings, where GPS signals are weak.

More info: Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (06/18/13)

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