Microsoft’s new Soundscape iOS app is designed to help the visually impaired navigate cities

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Microsoft today has a new application called Soundscape that uses 3D audio technology to help plot landmarks and points of interest through audio signals.
The company has been working on the use of 3D audio sound landscapes for navigation as early as 2014, when the company began experimenting with a headphone and bone conduction system. The Soundscape app is based on that research and is packaged in a way that works with a common smartphone and any pair of stereo headphones.
Users can configure audio beacons at specific locations and destinations, and the application will provide 3D audio signals (which can be sensed in a directional way) to help improve their "environmental awareness" as they travel there. Then, users can incorporate that Soundscape information while building a mental image of what surrounds them.
The Soundscape app can describe different stores and street names as you walk
The Soundscape app can also call points of interest, roads and intersections that pass, along with more specific configurations to describe a user's current location and address, or what comes in front of them. For example, you can describe different stores and street names as you walk, something other navigation techniques used by people with visual impairments can not always help.
If a user is not sure where they are or which way to go, they can hold the phone flat in the hand with the top edge facing the direction they want to go and then use the buttons at the bottom of the screen to place it nearby. reference points and navigate.
The application is designed to be used in conjunction with more traditional navigation media, not to replace them. As Erin Lauridsen, director of access technology at LightHouse for the Blind explains: "Avoiding obstacles is not the problem, we have a dog, a cane and our blindness for that." The gap is knowing where things are and being able to decide what is going on. interest. "
Microsoft Soundscape is now available for iOS. The company has not yet announced plans for an Android version.

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