As the next step on the journey to creating a more accessible Canada for all, Microsoft Canada announced the availability of Soundscape, an app that empowers people who are blind or partially sighted to explore the world around them through a 3D audio experience.
Unlike traditional navigation apps that provide turn by turn directions, Soundscape uses 3D audio – meaning the sounds are perceived as coming from the direction of the point of interest – and location awareness to provide users with information to help build a mental map of their surroundings and empower them to make their own navigational choices.
By setting an audio beacon on a chosen destination or a familiar landmark, a user can use Soundscape to keep track of that location as they move outdoors on foot or in a vehicle. The app also calls out roads, intersections and landmarks as the user passes, aiding in discoverability.
Microsoft worked closely with the CNIB Foundation and Vision Loss Rehabilitation Canada during beta testing.
Canada is the fourth market globally to launch Soundscape after the U.S., U.K. and Australia, and the first to launch in two languages – English and French.
Soundscape is free on iOS and iPhone in both English and French.
As Microsoft makes Soundscape available to the public, they want to hear from customers about their experiences. Visit the Soundscape project page for more information, share feedback through the accessibility UserVoice and contact the Disability Answer Desk for support.
In the News
- Microsoft Launches Free App to Help Blind and Low Vision Canadians Navigate the World Around Them, Microsoft.com, June 20, 2019
- Microsoft Soundscape with CNIB’s Jason Fayre, Tech Talk (CJAD), July 6, 2019
- Brampton Partnering With Microsoft To Launch New Innovative App, In Brampton, July 10, 2019
- Toronto Pearson first airport in Canada to offer innovative technology to improve accessibility for travellers with sight loss, Cision, July 16, 2019
- Toronto Pearson se dote en exclusivité d’une technologie pour les voyageurs atteints de cécité, OpenJaw Québec, 17 juillet 2019
- AIRA at the Airport, Live from Studio 5, July 25, 2019
- L’aéroport Pearson de Toronto offre une technologie d’assistance aux personnes aveugles, Travel Pulse Quebec, 25 juillet, 2019
- Vidéodescription: le CRTC refuse d'abaisser ses exigences envers TVA, La Presse, 26 juillet 2019
- Lyne Dubé - chef de programme en technologies accessibles à la fondation INCA, Que l’Outaouais se lève, 29 juillet 2019
- Entrevue Najla Noori et Sarah Rouleau sur la décision du CRTC, Aux quotidiens, Canal M, 29 juillet 2019
- Smartphone Apps Bring Sights Alive for Visually Impaired and Blind People, What’s Your Tech, July 31, 2019
- Un grand besoin de technologie pour les personnes aveugles, Le Droit, août 6, 2019
- Microsoft 'Soundscape' app allows blind users to hear their environment, CTV National News, August 11, 2019
- You can donate to Phone it Forward campaign in Wasaga Beach, Simcoe.com, September 23, 2019