Enable Group – Microsoft Research 

  • Education
  • June 15, 2022
  • 0

Amos Miller  

Topics: Beacon, Soundscape, Sound, Mobility, Vision, Landmark 

Transcript Excerpt
Hello, we’re here today to talk about the Microsoft Soundscape app, which is an app that allows anyone with low vision or a visual impairment to have mobility and independence, and to help me with that, I’ve brought Miller along to give us a live demonstration of the software. Soundscape is a stereo headset that allows people who are blind or have low vision to see landmarks around them in 3D, giving them a richer awareness of their surroundings and making them feel more independent and confident to explore the world beyond what they know.  
You’ll begin by activating the beacon and listening for landmarks. Skype duplicates the map that is currently playing on your phone. Now that you need to get to building 34, we’ll use soundscape instead of turn-by-turn directions to place an audio beacon on the way. So, since this app can locate a non-specific beacon, we’ll place the beacon at the top of the list, where you’ll find building 34 access ramps. In your right ear, you’ll now hear a clicking sound and I got it, so it doesn’t give you directions, but it gives you the sound impulse, so let’s turn towards the direction you’re hearing the beacon and you’ll hear a bell sound that tells you we’re pointing at building 34. It not only helps oneself personalise mental map of the space, but it also gives us a cue that we’re getting close to the intersection and are walking in a straight line towards our destination. Every day, thousands of people enjoy the outdoors with soundscape, which is incredible to witness. The app is currently available for free on the iOS App Store in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia, with plans to expand to other countries. 

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