Finite difference computation of head-related transfer function for human hearing.
Modeling the head-related transfer function (HRTF) is a key to many applications in spatial audio. To understand and predict the effects of head geometry and the surrounding environment on the HRTF, a three-dimensional finite-difference time domain model (3D FDTD) has been developed to simulate acoustic wave interaction with a human head. A perfectly matched layer (PML) is used to absorb outgoing waves at the truncated boundary of an unbounded medium. An external source is utilized to reduce the computational domain size through the scattered-field/total-field formulation. This numerical model has been validated by analytical solutions for a spherical head model. The 3D FDTD code is then used as a computational tool to predict the HRTF for various scenarios. In particular, a simplified spherical head model is compared to a realistic head model up to about 7 kHz. The HRTF is also computed for a realistic head model in the presence of a wall. It is demonstrated that this 3D FDTD model can be a useful tool for spatial audio applications.
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