Although we some may scoff at any research that won't directly lead to a "cure for cancer," the less judgmental may appreciate a new technology being developed by Australian engineers that promises to add a spatial dimension to in-game audio. Called the Immersive Communications Environment, this bit of code from the Smart Internet Technology Cooperative Research Centre maps voices and sounds from MMORPGs so that players can gauge their general direction using just headphones or stereo speakers, and even adjusts audio volume to reflect a sound source's virtual distance from the listener. Besides helping players communicate with teammates or figure out that they're getting shot in the back a little faster, the ICE software could also be employed in the business world, where it would give teleconference participants a more accurate sense of their remote colleagues' activities.

[Thanks, Kaius]

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