Aerial Acoustic Communications

Cristina Lopes and Pedro Aguiar

To appear at Workshop on Applications of Signal Processing to Audio and Acoustics (WASPAA01), Mohonk Mountain Resort, NY, 21-24 October 2001


This paper describes experiments in using audible sound as a means for wireless device communications. The direct application of standard modulation techniques to sound, without further improvements, results in sounds that are immediately perceived as digital communications and that are fairly aggressive and intrusive. We observe that some parameters of the modulation that have an impact in the data rate, the error probability and the computational overhead at the receiver also have a tremendous impact in the quality of the sound. This paper focuses on how to vary those parameters in standard modulation techniques such as ASK, FSK and Spread-Spec-trum to obtain communication systems in which the messages are musical and other familiar sounds, rather than modem sounds. A prototype called Digital Voices demonstrates the feasibility of this music-based communication technology. Our goal is to lay out the basis of sound design for aerial acoustic communications so that the presence of such communications, though noticeable, is not intrusive and can even be considered as part of musical compositions and sound tracks.

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