Last year, Microsoft released a headset that's designed to help the visually impaired much more easily navigate through busy cities. While that device came out last year, Microsoft has just given it a number of pretty big upgrades.
Previously, the headset used bone conduction to send things like clicks and other cues designed to help the user get around, but the new headset is much more information-rich, using what is known as "3D soundscape technology."
This technology basically describes the user's surroundings, including things like restaurants and when the train is approaching a stop.
"After phase one last year we started to think deeply about how we can empower people to be more independent, more mobile and act in much the same way as a sighted person would do," said Jarnail Chudge, head of the Cities Unlocked program at Microsoft, in an interview with the Irish Examiner.
The new headset rests over the user's ears, though it is still designed to be able to let outside sounds through so that the user is aware of their surroundings. Not only that, but users are also able to speak into a microphone so that they can ask for more information or ask the system to repeat the information that was just relayed.
The technology also doesn't have to be for just the visually impaired. In reality, anyone can take advantage of it to learn about their surroundings, something that could be particularly useful, for example, when you're in a country whose language you don't speak.