Microsoft has teamed up with British charity Guide Dogs to boost smart headsets which are geared to assist visually impaired individuals in navigating their surroundings with the aid of sound.
The initial prototype, which was unwrapped last year, used constant clicking sounds made to guide people who wear it toward the right direction. Microsoft says that it made a considerable makeover on the technology's second phase, making it a lot more "descriptive" as opposed to being "prescriptive."
Two brand new experiences have been integrated into the technology's software. Users are now able to either use a remote or simply their voice to inquire about further information on their surroundings. The new technology also comes equipped with a navigation feature, directing wearers through the use of sound prompts and directional audio, which can allow them to come up with a mental image to enable them to be more comfortable and independent when they are outside.
"Guiding by sound in the same way a lighthouse guides by light, this technology demonstrator paints you a picture with sound," says Microsoft. "Placing spatially situated synthetic sounds around you — both verbal and non-verbal — it creates a 3D soundscape of the world in a language you can understand."
The wearable device has two significant features, the "Look Ahead" and "Orientate," which are responsible for providing info on what is in the way and around the wearer.
The integrated app CityScribe also makes it possible for users to tag hurdles, such as bins, street furniture, low jutting corners and park benches.
The new technology promises to provide specific information, including names of the streets, shops on both sides of the street as well as compass direction.
Microsoft was inspired to dome up with this wearable by Amos Miller, one of its employees with visual impairment. He was inspired by his newborn daughter to make a life where he could explore the outdoors with her without anxieties.
In a study done by Microsoft's Cities Unlocked project, about 180,000 registered blind individuals in the U.K. confessed they are not confident in leaving their houses unaccompanied.