Digital representation and interaction at Ericsson Research

Diandra Prioleau is spending this summer as an intern at Ericsson Research in Santa Clara, California. She works in the Digital Representation and Interaction department on a project focused on the evaluation of spatial audio. Diandra is a doctoral student in Human-Centered Computing at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida.

Students from many different fields join Ericsson Research for internships or thesis work. You could be next. Follow our blog to learn about the students at Ericsson Research this summer.

What do you do at Ericsson Research?

Ericsson Digital Representation and Interaction is a research area, whose mission is to develop compression and processing technology for digital representations of reality such as Immersive Audio and Video. We also drive the digitalization of Ericsson and the Industry by developing enablers for Extended Reality (AR/VR/MR) such as media compression, object recognition, and content analytics. Our team research how these enablers can lead to new User Experiences.

Spatial audio is an area of the research that we encounter in our lives, whether it is through 360 videos on YouTube or within virtual reality headsets.

My colleague Darren and I have been working on developing a tool for evaluating spatial audio to allow researchers to efficiently and accurately evaluate and compare different audio renderings. The project involved conducting a user study using this tool to determine whether non-experts can perceive and effectively evaluate spatial audio using headphones. This task involved HCI research in which factors should such as visual and written aid to help with audio perception, understandability of scales for evaluation, and headphone types were considered and addressed through the study.

Evaluation Tool

The tool is an authoring tool that allows researchers to alter position and elevation of audio source for dynamic or static rendering. This tool is a step towards evaluating spatial audio within virtual reality and augmented reality (VR/AR), which gives Ericsson Research the opportunity to continue to be at the cutting edge of research within the audio realm as extended reality (AR/VR/MR) becomes more prevalent in our world.

Best part of your internship, and what did you learn from the internship?

Interning at Ericsson has been a rewarding experience. I have had the opportunity to work with great individuals, who not only are passionate about their work but are caring individuals. There is a culture and work dynamic of friendliness and community. I especially enjoyed attending “Fika” each Thursdays, where we had desserts and coffee. It was an opportunity for everyone to relax and socialize.

I have also gained technical skills in web and ThreeJS development. I have learned how to use Google Resonance and Omnitone to render spatial audio using Ambisonics, which deepen my knowledge in the area of audio that I before did not know.

My expectation was to develop a graphical user interface for researchers to easily input information about the codec(s) being evaluated; however, we were able to develop the authoring tool to allow researchers to create and pass a JSON file with their inputs for evaluating codecs.

Participant from user study

My role has challenged me to learn quickly and understand different topics that I have not been expose to before.
Spatial audio is an area of the research that we encounter in our lives, whether it is through 360 videos on YouTube or within virtual reality headsets. My internship at Ericsson has expanded my knowledge within the research domain and how to look at things that normally would seem insignificant, but in reality have a major impact on our research and results, from a wider perspective.

Challenges faced during Internship

One of the challenges I faced during my internship was rendering spatial audio in Google Resonance. Ensuring the correct rendering of the sound source for spatial audio was vital to our project. Therefore, it was important that I could effectively perceive spatial audio, which can be difficult at times for non-experts, to ensure the validity of our renderings before conducting the study.

My mentor and supervisor, Alvin, was helpful in the process when facing challenges and offered guidance to approaching issues. However, with this challenge, I have gain new skills and knowledge with using Google Resonance and within spatial audio using various methods for rendering spatial audio, such as Ambisonics.

Name: Diandra Prioleau
Unit: Digital Representation and Interaction Research
Education: PhD in Human-Centered Computing at University of Florida
Location: Gainesville, Florida

About Me
I was born and raised in St. Stephen, South Carolina. After high school, I attended Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, where I received my Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering. Afterwards, I decided to further my studies in Human-Centered Computing at the University of Florida. At the University of Florida, I conduct research in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). My main research focus is interactive machine learning, which utilizes human feedback in machine learning algorithms to improve prediction accuracy and performance. Graduate school has given me the opportunity to explore the unknown and to research how to use technology to have a positive impact on the lives of others. My internship at Ericsson has allowed me to develop impactful relationships and to work alongside and to learn from a group of intelligent individuals.

In my spare time, I enjoy reading and going to the movies. One of my favorite books that I read in middle school is The Skin I’m In by Sharon G. Flake. While in Santa Clara, I have had the opportunity to go horseback riding and to visit the Rose Garden.

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