Tech giants Microsoft have teamed up with Vision Australia to launch a brand new, state-of-the-art 3D audio app that has been designed to help blind and visually impaired people gain greater independence to explore the world around them via a 3d audio experience

The revolutionary app – called Soundscape – uses powerful audio beacons on selected destinations or landmark so travellers can keep track of where they are, as well as letting users know when roads and intersections are nearby.

According to Microsoft, the user will wear a stereo headset linked to soundscape which will help them “build an image of what’s around from the sounds in the environment and the information coming from the Soundscape app.”

This is a huge step for accessible technology, as blind or visually impaired users can have greater control of their own journeys: “Unlike traditional navigation apps that provide turn by turn directions, Soundscape helps users build an appreciation of the space as they move through it, empowering them to make their own navigational choices while at the same time enhancing their overall experience.”

“Used in combination with traditional mobility aids, like canes and dogs, a person with low or no vision can get from A to B and gain an appreciation of their surroundings on the journey – particularly if the environment is an unfamiliar one.”

Soundscape has been the result of an intensive 6-month collaboration with Microsoft’s Artificial Intelligence and Research department and Vision Australia’s Orientation and Mobility team – and so far, it’s been a huge success.

It’s important that everyone can travel safely and independently, especially if suffering from vision loss. At REACT Technologies, we – like Microsoft – are giving blind or visually impaired people the confidence to make journeys on their own. We want everyone to feel a part of this increasingly interconnected world, and with the modern technology we have available, it’s our job to help make people with visual impairments feel a part of the wider community.