PEOPLE ORLA MURPHY, 25 Day job: Audio calibration engineer Education: Electronics Engineering degree Spare time: Playing viola in the Birmingham Philharmonic Orchestra and 15-a-side camogie (which is like the Irish sport of hurling) My job is about the perception of sound in the car. In an orchestra you listen to all kinds of sounds from the really low frequencies of a tuba to really high frequencies from a piccolo, so my ears are good at knowing what to listen for. I wrote a research paper recently on 3D surround sound and working on that is really exciting but zonal audio – where specific noise cancellation can create different listening zones – is the Holy Grail. We can balance and fade sound in certain sections of the car now, but for the future we’re looking at a scenario where someone in the back of the car making a private phone call wouldn’t be bothered by what the driver’s playing, or the front passenger could be listening to rock while the rear passenger streams classical with no interference. It’s not just about music either. We have to deal with vocal integration, parking sensors and every other sound inside a car. 30 j THE DYNAMIC ISSUE
BRIAN WATERFIELD, 49 Day job: Virtual reality technical lead Education: VR & Gaming Tech Masters Spare time: “I stopped rugby, as coming to work with black eyes didn’t go down well. Now it’s the gym and TED Talks” Our virtual reality cave was the biggest in the world when we first set it up. It has three walls and a ceiling and is rear-projected with resolution up to four times’ HD. Normally we’d put an interior ‘buck’ in there and visualise the rest of the car around it. It’s a one-to-one scale when you’ve got these glasses on. It was originally intended mainly for the packaging team and the management of space. But we found more and more departments within JLR wanted to use it so we built a 2D and 3D power wall which interacts with the cave. The cave would only fit so many people inside but the power wall has a 52-seater stadium where people can experience exactly what’s going on in the cave. A physical test of a car relies on many factors – with ice- or off-road testing you’re reliant on the weather – but in the virtual world you’re not reliant on anything. As we develop more ways to simulate we will be able to control time and space with any weather conditions.