PhD 1: Treating Auditory Hypersensitivity in Autistic Children using Virtual Ambisonics 

Partner: SONICAL 

Supervisors: Dan Johnston, School of Physics, Electronics, and Technology; Clare Fenton, COMIC (Child Oriented Mental Health innovation Collaboration) 

Project Description:

Currently in the UK, approximately 1 per 100 children are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).  Often they have difficulties in processing auditory sensory information and can experience hypersensitivity to common everyday sounds, manifesting via negative behavioural responses.  Without early and targeted therapy, this can lead to negative impacts of a child’s social development and ultimately their mental health,wellbeing and quality of life.

The aim of this project is to research and develop a system that utilises hearable technology to monitor the correlation between real-time auditory input and biometric data, with the purpose of detecting the emotional response to sounds within a listener’s local environment.  By measuring the electrodermal activity associated with stress, it will be possible to identify specific auditory stimuli which cause emotional distress which can help inform psychological interventions and manage a child’s auditory environment.  Furthermore, the system has the potential in the application of an intelligent noise control technique designed to manage real-world soundscapes.

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Apply for this project at PhD in MT

Who should apply?

Candidates must have (or expect to obtain) a minimum of a UK upper second-class honours degree (2.1) or equivalent and a strong interest and experience in sound and audio technology. Their formal training and qualifications may be in disciplines not directly associated with audio engineering or metaverse technologies. 

We especially welcome applications from candidates belonging to groups that are currently under-represented in metaverse-related industries; these include (but are not limited to: women, individuals from under-represented ethnicities, members of the LGBTQ+ community, people from low-income backgrounds, and people with physical disabilities.

How to apply

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. 

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We expect strong competition and encourage those interested to submit applications as early as possible. The deadline for applications is 12:00 noon (GMT) on Monday 20th March 2023.