About Us

Welcome to the website for the Illinois Augmented Listening Laboratory! We are a research team based in the Coordinated Science Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

What is Augmented Listening?

Our research focuses on augmented listening (AL): technology that enhances human hearing by modifying the sounds perceived by a listener in real time. Augmented listening technology includes conventional hearing aids, over-the-counter assistive listening devices, consumer-oriented smart headphones, and emerging applications in audio augmented reality. We are exploring new AL technologies and applications, with a particular focus on microphone array processing. Wearable and distributed microphone arrays allow listening systems to separate sounds spatially, improving performance in crowded and noisy environments where current listening technology fails.

TE 401: Develop Breakthrough Projects

Many of the students working in the lab are participating in a special section of Technology Entrepreneurship 401: Develop Breakthrough Projects, a group independent study course sponsored by the Technology Entrepreneur Center. Students from engineering, design, and business fields work together to develop prototypes, conduct market research and user studies, and explore novel applications of listening technology. Since the course began in the Fall of 2017, its scope has expanded to include spatial sound processing more broadly, including machine listening, smart speakers, and spatial sound reproduction.

Facilities

The Augmented Listening Laboratory is equipped for prototyping and testing wearable audio devices and high-channel-count audio systems. The lab is divided into a meeting and prototyping space with hardware tools and an acoustically treated recording space with microphones, loudspeakers, and mannequins. The recording space is most often used to simulate “cocktail party” scenarios with multiple talkers and listeners and to measure directional characteristics of loudspeakers and microphone arrays.

Getting Involved

Our team is always happy to hear from prospective team members, collaborators, and sponsors. We welcome participation from students interested in embedded hardware development, signal processing, audio, industrial design, and entrepreneurship. If you’d like to learn more, please contact team leader Ryan M. Corey.