Even though this isn’t available in Canada yet, I’m still posting about it because it’s cool.
Microsoft has released another interesting app to help out us blind kids, this one is for navigation. It’s called Microsoft Soundscape. It’s kind of like Blindsquare only in a videogame-like format. As you’re walking, you will hear where points of Interest nearby are, and you will hear them in that direction. So if TD bank is to the right of you, you will hear “TD Bank” spoken in your right ear. You can create beacons on landmarks, such as the exit from the park that you take to go home, or some side door of a building, or some such and they will make knocking noises as you pass them. It made me think of the old PakMan Talks videogame when it would go “Super power. Super power…” Of course, I think you would have to wear bone-conducting headphones for this to work at all, but heck, I usually am doing that anyway. Here’s a video to show how it works.
Slightly cheesy, but hey I shouldn’t criticize, I hate making videos.
I will have to reserve judgment on how awesome it is until I can actually try it. I wonder about the accuracy of when it says something is somewhere. How does it handle when you’re in a place with a lot of things right close together? I wonder about how good the beacons are. It feels like it does a lot of the things Blindsquare does, but in a way that’s very instantaneous and close by, as if you’re just scanning your immediate area with your eyes. I definitely want to try it out when it becomes available and see how I feel.