Unlike dogs, cats, rabbits, bats, donkeys, zebras, gerbils and very many other mammals, most humans have great difficulty in independently orienting their outer ears ( pinnae ) towards sounds of interest. But what if we could?
This study demonstrates that by opening and closing the human pinna, we can change the direction of sound perceived by humans. Each ear was independently transformed into a 100% open, 50% open, and 100% closed state, and all 9 combinations of these ear transformations were tested to evaluate the perceived direction of the sound output from 7 speakers placed 180 degrees around the subject. We demonstrate that by deforming the pinna, we could change the perception of the direction of sound, or make it illusory.
See : Altered pinna: exploring shape change of pinna for perception and illusion of sound direction change (ISWC ’19: Proceedings of the 23rd International Symposium on Wearable Computers, September 2019 Pages 220–224). A full copy of which may be found here.
(Research research by Martin Gardiner)