Date published: November 28, 2018
Engineer Lauren scoops two industry awards
AUSTRALIAN engineer Lauren Ward has scooped not one but two awards for her work to improve TV sound for the hard-of-hearing.
Even people with slight hearing loss can struggle to understand dialogue amid sound effects, with some popular series like SS GB and Taboo criticised heavily for their audio.
PhD Lauren is determined to find some solutions and came to Salford – one of the leading acoustic engineering groups in Europe to do just that.
Such is her progress in work with hard-of-hearing volunteers and the Institute of Acoustics that she this week collected two prizes from industry.
Lauren won a Leslie H Paddle Scholarship for excellence in research from the Institution of Engineering & Technology,worth £5,000 and also the EPSRC Connected Nation Pioneer award for making digital technology work for people.
The EPSRC were impressed with the pioneering nature of Lauren’s research, and also her ability to communicate her work.
“I think my work with producers and broadcasters to transfer my research into industry particularly impressed them,” she said.
Lauren has appeared many times on BBC Radio to discuss TV sound and appeal for volunteers to help with the studies.
The postgraduate researcher said: “One of the solutions we’ve been working on is personalised audio – a type of system which allows the user to control the sound levels of different elements of a ‘soundtrack’ – speech,music, background sound etc.
“Because there’s such variety, we want to learn about the experiences ofas many different people as possible, and our data will help us create a better product for individuals with hearing loss.”