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Wednesday 6 December 2023 Dublin: 8°C
Microsoft UK/YouTube
smart navigation

This headset helps the blind navigate the city they're in

The device creates a 3D soundscape to aid its wearer, providing them with context to their surroundings.

WHEN YOU THINK of digital headsets, the first thing that would come into mind would be something like Google Glass, but there are other examples being developed that have more practical uses.

A collaboration between Microsoft, Future Cities Catapult and the Guide Dogs charity has resulted in an intelligent headset that helps blind people navigate the city they’re in.

According to Dezeen, the headset uses sensors to create a ’3D soundscape’ which aids its wearer. It first scans a wearer’s head using a Microsoft Kinect camera so it can customise the headset and get the correct position of the individual’s ear canals.

The reason for this is that interaction between the device and the wearer is done via bone conduction with sounds being sent through the wearer’s cheekbones. This allows it to create noises that trick the brain into thinking they come from certain directions.

Not only does it use this technique to aid navigation, it also provides information like the location of amenities like cafes and timetables for buses among other things.

The developers behind the project don’t see this as replacing current aids like guide dogs. Instead, it’s seen as more of an alternative to headset devices like Google Glass, giving blind people more information about their surroundings.

Microsoft UK / YouTube

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