Microsoft’s new Soundscape iOS app helps visually impaired users to navigate cities

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Microsoft today launched Soundscape, a new iOS app that aims to give people who are blind or visually impaired a greater awareness of their surroundings by using 3D cues.

This App is all about enriching people’s perception of their surroundings. With this app, users can set audio beacons for destinations and landmarks. Using GPS and built-in compass in the phone, the app generates its special audio cues. The mapping data is provided by OpenStreetMap.

The company has been working on using 3D Soundscape of audio for navigation as early as 2014 when the company first began experimenting with a bone conduction headset and smartphone system. This app is built off of that research packing it into a form that works with an ordinary smartphones and any pair of stereo headphones.

The soundscape app can also call out point of interest, road and intersections that you pass, along with more specific settings for describing a user’s current location and direction or what’s  coming up ahead of them.

If a user is not sure where they are or which way to travel, they can hold the phone flat in their hand and with the top edge facing the direction they want to go and then use the buttons at the bottom of the screen to locate nearby landmarks and navigate.

The App is designed to be used in tandem with more traditional means of navigation, not replace them.

Microsoft Soundscape is now available for iOS.

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An engineering graduate, Harry turned to writing after a couple of years of experience in core technology field. At The iBulletin, Harry covers latest updates related to trending apps & games on the app store.

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