Device uses cloud based location and navigation data

Microsoft headset to assist blind people

Microsoft has teamed up with Guide Dogs and Future Cities Catapult to launch a headset to help blind people navigate.

When the small headset is paired with a Windows phone, the application uses cloud based location and navigation data working alongside a network of information beacons placed in a range of urban locations.

A personalised 3D-soundscape is then transmitted through the user’s jawbone.

The application will also provide information on shops, points of interest and additional journey details to help the user navigate.

Jenny Cook, head of strategy and research at Guide Dogs, said: “By working with people who are living with sight loss and developing a deep understanding of the challenges they face, we’ve shown that the right technology can empower people.”

The information is transmitted through bone-conducting technology, meaning sounds appear to come from outside of the user’s head.

For example, if a coffee shop is on the right then the headset will read out this information on the user’s right, giving them a mental image of their surroundings.

Peter Madden, CEO of Future Cities Catapult, added: “This kind of technology can really help the visually impaired, and it could also make our cities much more accessible for everyone.”

The technology is currently being tested, however, the programme hopes to take on more organisations across the UK.

Check out the video for the headset below:

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