Apple has submitted a Spatial Audio or 3D Audio patent geared towards developers using its new "Audio Engine".
The engine is designed to deliver excitingly realistic audio in future games, particularly in VR games where gamers are immersed in simulated environments where stormy weather or waterfalls are able to pop out in a whole new audio dimension.
The patent appears to be aimed mainly at tools for developers. More specifically, an "Audio Engine" for gaming developers who are designing simulated reality games that could be AR/MR/VR based.
Apple notes in patent point #75: "In one or more embodiments, a graphic rendering module is a software program (application) that allows a developer of higher layer applications (e.g., games) to define a spatial representation of the objects, called out in the higher layer application, in a graphical scene (and is responsible for rendering or drawing the visual aspects of 3D or 2D graphic objects in the virtual environment that is being displayed (projected.)
Apple further notes that "an audio engine" is provided for acoustically rendering a three-dimensional virtual environment.
The audio engine uses geometric volumes to represent sound sources and any sound occluders. A volumetric response is generated based on sound projected from a volumetric sound source to a listener, taking into consideration any volumetric occluders in-between.
The audio engine also provides for modification of a level of detail of sound over time based on distance between a listener and a sound source.
Apple's patent FIG. 2 below illustrates a representational view for explaining an example 3D virtual audio environment; FIG. 3A illustrates representational views for explaining example objects having geometric volumes; FIG. 3B illustrates a representational view for explaining an example object having simplified bounding volumes.