Microsoft is working on a technology that could help the blind safely walk around the cities.
The technology, developed with help from UK charity Guide Dogs, consists of a smartphone-connected bone-conducting headset that uses 3D soundscape technology to guide its users with audio cues along the way, and WiFi beacons placed in intervals throughout the roads users take. These beacons are made to constantly send audio cues to ensure user is taking the right way. Turn-by-turn voice directions and information on surrounding objects also come included.
In the pilot program, Microsoft attached makeshift beacons on neighborhood objects in a London suburb, where testers are giving it a spin. One of them, who also happen to be the company news writer Jennifer Warnick, said she felt like a “dry-land dolphin,” but the system did help her get around blindfolded.
The Redmond-based company will likely be conducing additional trials to prove the technology and only then present the plan how it can improve the lives of the visually impaired. City authorities would need to approve and eventually buy all those beacons to make sure this sort of tech can work in wider areas.