RAARA - Residential Area Augmented Reality Acoustics

Populations with high exposure to noise emissions will generally agree: Noise means trouble. The aim of project RAARA is to develop a simple, intuitive albeit accurate method for reducing noise imissions in urban areas. This method involves placing a noise-source into its planned real-world destination prior to actual installation, by means of augmented reality. The ensuing sound-imissions are then made tangible by means of sound effects and coloured visualizations. This exceptional approach will facilitate planning for heating and cooling devices and thus reduce noise pollution in urban areas. This, in turn, can contribute to an increase in societal acceptance and investment in renewable energy.

Short Description



Starting point / motivation

Noise causes stress and thus triggers reactions such as cardiovascular diseases, sleep and concentration disorders and mental illnesses and has an influence on social behavior (aggression). In urban areas in particular, people are severely affected by noise pollution. 

In addition to traffic and commercial noise, heating and cooling equipment is particularly important here. Air-conditioning systems, heat pump external units (source) or even noisy control cabinets often lead to conflicts. In addition, noise pollution has increased again in recent years and about 40% of Austrians are affected.

In view of the steady expansion of renewable energy sources, air heat pumps in particular will increase strongly in the urban area. Nowadays, sound emissions are usually determined from a single number, the location-independent sound power level, and converted into a location-dependent sound pressure level by simple mathematical methods.

This does not take into account the frequency dependence, direction dependency, operating state or the influence of the environment. It is therefore urgently necessary to develop a more intuitive, simpler but at the same time more accurate approach to the sound issue in order to make cities 100% renewable and at the same time quieter. This approach is based on Augmented Reality (AR) and represents a unique approach to date.

Contents and goals

The aim of the ARA - Augmented Reality Acoustics project is to make sound emissions from noise sources visible and audible in real time before they are installed by means of "Augmented Reality" on site, depending on frequency, direction, operating condition and environment.

Noise sources such as recirculating chillers, evaporators, fans, etc. in/around the building as well as noise-insulating measures should be able to be placed virtually before the devices are installed on site. Their sound emissions are visualized on the surrounding surfaces in real time and made acoustically perceptible. For the calculations, the automatically detected environment is taken into account in terms of sound physics.


The following methods are used in the RAARA project:

  • Accurate sound measurement of noise sources with up to 64 microphones and conversion of the data into sound profiles in order to be able to transfer these later lifelike into the virtual environment. Data analysis and data compression methods are mainly used for this purpose.
  • Precise and real-time calculation of sound propagation including all physical effects. For this purpose 2.5D and 3D BEM methods are used.
  • Environment recognition by a mobile device in the outdoor area, real-time transmission of geometric data recorded by IR sensors or "time of flight" sensors to the computing cluster and return of the calculated results.

Expected results

With the unique methodology developed in the project, different installation locations, noise reduction measures and un-built facades can be taken into account, thus virtually optimizing the noise level of the heating and cooling units to be installed in the future, even before the units are ordered.

The project results include methods for:

  • Conversion of noise source measurements into suitable sound profiles
  • Automatic acoustic recording of the environment (close range and distance range)
  • Calculation of sound propagation based on sound profiles and environmental data
  • Interactive visual and acoustic presentation of the calculations using AR (virtual noise source with virtual sound in real environments)

Project Partners

Project management

AIT Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH

Project or cooperation partners

ÖAW - Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften als Subauftragnehmer

Contact Address

AIT Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH
Christoph Reichl, Gerwin Drexler-Schmid
Giefinggasse 2
A-1210 Vienna
Tel.: +43 50550 6605
Fax: +43 50550 6679
E-mail: christoph.reichl@ait.ac.at, gerwin.drexler-schmid@ait.ac.at
Web: www.ait.ac.at