Wind Power and Psychoacoustics in the Metaverse

Supervisors

Frank Stevens and Ümit Cali , School of Physics, Engineering and Technology.

External Partner

AECOM Acoustics (https://aecom.com/acoustics/iss/)

Project Summary

Integrating renewable energy, particularly wind power, into our energy matrix is paramount for a sustainable future. However, ensuring its optimal placement, public acceptance, and minimal adverse environmental and health impacts is equally critical. This proposal aims to make use of the metaverse, digital twinning techniques, and emerging digital technologies to tackle the acoustic challenges and the environmental and health concerns associated with wind power projects. This project would make use of acoustic modelling, audio engineering techniques, programming for XR technologies, psychoacoustic evaluation and perceptual testing (based on soundscape evaluation methodologies) in order to develop a digital twin based metaverse of proposed wind power projects. The finished product and derivative results would allow these technologies to be utilised in academic and industrial applications.

Project Description

This project represents an original approach making use of XR techniques to develop a metaverse experience of a proposed wind power project and make use of soundscape techniques (and other acoustic and psychoacoustic metrics) to evaluate its impact.The key research questions to be addressed include determining how to develop a model that is ecologically valid, how to effectively evaluate its psychoacoustic impact, and how this can be presented successfully to a lay audience.

Care will have to be taken to define the scope, and the exact interdisciplinary nature, of the project considering the domains it interacts with. This will have to consider the interplay between wind energy, audio technology, and metaverse research, including the potential challenges and the interoperability and integration of these areas.

The following points outline the top-level approach that might be taken:

  • Develop a comprehensive digital model that simulates acoustics, environmental factors, and health-related concerns of potential physical assets such as wind energy sites.
  • Simulate potential environmental impacts and health hazards using a digital twin created using this model, focusing on noise pollution and its effects.
  • Extend the digital twin to the metaverse and conduct an impact analysis, making use of soundscape evaluation techniques and acoustic/psychoacoustic metrics.
  • Evaluate how to make the metaverse application of this model appropriate for public consultations, simulating potential scenarios, and gathering feedback to be utilised by policymakers, industrial and academic stakeholders.

Successful completion of this project would result in the following expected outcomes/contributions to the field:

  • Interconnected multi-dimensional physics-based digital twin and metaverse models that accurately represent the physical, environmental, health-related impact of potential wind power sites.
  • An understanding of the impact of the acoustic and psychoacoustic features of the model, and how this relates to public opinion.
  • A framework for the evaluation of potential wind power projects, complying with environmental regulations and health standards, ensuring sustainable and safe energy production.

There are a number of potential challenges associated with this project:

  • Capturing the complexity of environmental and health dynamics in the digital model.
  • Balancing the technological complexities with ease of use for the public within the metaverse.
  • Addressing potential discrepancies between digital models, virtual simulations and real-world scenarios.
  • Effective communication of scientific data and potential impacts to a lay audience.

The student would have the opportunity to determine how such a digital twin is to be designed, how to implement the metaverse experience, and the evaluation metrics used. The project offers a novel approach to tackling the multifaceted challenges of wind power projects in the nexus of acoustic modelling and simulation, digital twinning techniques, and the metaverse. With a focus on acoustics, environment, and health, this methodology provides an innovative roadmap for renewable energy projects that are both sustainable and sensitive to human and environmental needs.

Students Skills Requirements

  • Knowledge of acoustics, including sound propagation and noise measurement techniques.
  • Understanding of psychoacoustics and relevant metrics.
  • Familiarity with spatial audio and virtual acoustic methods.
  • Knowledge of soundscape theory and environmental acoustics.
  • Good programming skills are essential (e.g. MATLAB, Python, C++). Experience of development using Unity, Wwise, etc is desirable.
  • Knowledge of digital technologies such as digital twins, co-simulations, and XR/AR/VR tools and techniques.
  • Prior knowledge of wind energy systems is desirable but not essential.

How to apply

Please go to the School of Physics Engineering, and Technology website and apply for a PhD in Music Technology. When applying please select ‘CDT in Sound Interactions in the Metaverse’ as your source of funding. You do not need to provide a research proposal, just enter the name of the project you are applying for.

About AECOM

AECOM is a multinational infrastructure consulting firm, offering services in many areas. This project will partner specifically with AECOM Acoustics who have expertise in many areas relevant to this project as listed here (https://aecom.com/acoustics/). This includes work in the area of soundscape evaluation, auralisation, and immersive sound. Two areas in particular are relevant to his project:

  1. Their work in environmental Acoustics:
    • Design measures to mitigate environmental noise emissions of mechanical and electrical services at nearby noise sensitive locations, such as residential areas
    • 3D modelling to predict environmental noise emissions and design noise control solutions
    • Identifying the level of industrial noise reduction required by noise treatment (ie. industrial acoustic enclosures, industrial sound absorbing panels) in order to comply with project noise criteria
  2. Their work using immersive and interactive sound (e.g. their immersive sound studio)

“AECOM Acoustics offers innovative sound demonstrations to support acoustic design, planning and stakeholder engagements for Environmental developments or Building projects. AECOM’s Immersive Sound Studio makes understanding acoustics intuitive, by allowing design teams, clients and other stakeholders to listen to options.”https://aecom.com/acoustics/iss/