After offering the service in the U.S., U.K., and Australia, Microsoft is now introducing its iOS-exclusive Soundscape accessibility app to Canada.
By using a predefined network of audio beacons and directional audio feedback, the Soundscape app allows its users to keep better track of their location and get directions to their point of interests quicker and more easily.
To help individuals avoid traffic-related accidents, Soundscape has safety features such as calling out roads and intersections. Aside from that, users may choose to mark more specific locations as time goes on, allowing the software to better navigate them back.
By removing the reliance on visual information, Microsoft thinks Soundscape could help individuals overcome their visual disabilities and create a mental map of their surroundings, thus making lives more comfortable.
Based on the above video, it seems the accessibility service does not require headphones to fully function, even though a dedicated audio device should provide a better sound directionality.
Now available in English and French, Soundscape does not require a Microsoft account or any form of user identification, per Microsoft. The company has yet to announce an Android version.
First started in 2014 by a Microsoft engineer as a way to remedy his reduced situational awareness, the project gradually evolved into what it is today.
Soundscape is also in a pilot program with Brampton, Ontario as the local officials want the city to become more accessible to everyone.
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