Immerse yourself in your surroundings and navigate effortlessly with Soundscape spatial audio.
Microsoft Soundscape will place audio cues and labels in 3D space such that they sound like they are coming from the direction of the points of interest, parks, roads and other features in your surroundings.
Switch between using Soundscape in the real world, or the virtual world, to help you build a picture of a place effortlessly with Street Preview.
Soundscape is designed to live in the background and provide you with effortless ambient awareness. Therefore, feel free to use it in conjunction with other apps such as podcasts, audio books, email and even GPS navigation.
- As you walk, Soundscape will automatically call out the key points of interest, roads and intersections that you pass. These can be adjusted and turned on and off.
- An audio beacon can be placed on a point of interest, and you will hear it as you move around. You can place an audio beacon on a point of interest that you would like to track such as your destination, a point to return to or a landmark you are familiar with.
- "My Location" describes your current location and the direction you are facing.
- "Nearby Markers" describes nearby places you have marked.
- "Around Me" describes nearby points of interest in each of the four cardinal directions, helping with orientation. Try this out when getting off a bus or leaving a train station.
- "Ahead of Me" describes points of interest in front of you, for example when walking down the street.
To get the most out of the experience, you will need a pair of stereo headsets that you feel comfortable wearing outdoors. For example, bone conduction headsets, Apple AirPods and in-ear open headphones have proven to work well.
We hope you enjoy the experience. We believe that this kind of technology offers a new way to relate to the environment around you and we can’t wait to hear what you make of it.
If at any time you have any questions about Soundscape, please refer to the Help & Tutorials section available on the main menu or if you require further help then you can contact the Disability Answer Desk on 1-800-936-5900 which is a free of charge service.
This version includes important bug fixes and app improvements.
Ratings and Reviews
Most life-changing app I've used
I am blind and this is the first time I have had access to a any form of "street preview." For the first time ever, I can use VR to explore my neighborhood. Before Street preview, I could get a list of directions from a starting point to a destination, but I could not explore the map directly. I once rote a program in Ruby that let me explore a map of where I lived by entering commands like "move" and "turn" like a text-based game. Soundscape's Street Preview is better than that program in several ways. The binaural sound causes me to visualize the shapes of the intersections instead of having to parse a bunch of words and remember where I am going at the same time. I am unimpressed by most attempts at VR which both exclude me and fail to consider the use of sound. This app is obviously well thought out and well researched, and it liberates me of needing a person to show me how to get places. Thank you.
Great idea, poorly implemented
The idea of sound navigation aid is ingenious. However, this app comes short in almost every aspect of its implementation. The app is not functional without a network connection. No way to download regions for offline navigation. The app can't even determine your location when you're offline. The app is not able to navigate along a previously recorded route. It can only navigate to a single point -beacon. There is neither a way to automatically navigate along a string of predefined beacons. Markers are great, however, you never know how close you need to be to a given market to hear about its proximity. For some markers you really want to be close, for others, you just may want to know that they are near.
The app claims to be mostly for people with impaired vision. It doesn't have to be. It could be used to navigate in dense forests, in the dark, in the fog or snow storm. Sound navigation clearly has much larger potential. Actually, one has to wonder if this kind of sound navigation is not severely limiting audio stream a person with reduced vision needs to proced in order to stay safe in a busy city environment. The constant sound distraction coming from this app could prevent its user from, let's say hearing a incoming car when crossing a street. What is also very frustrating is that there is nobody listening to user feedback. Well. That's a normal large corporation way.
Developer Response ,
Thank you for this feedback; we recognise that Soundscape is a new technology and provides a new way to orient and navigate around an environment, and your note will help us improve the overall experience and the accompanying messaging. In terms of the safety aspect you’ve raised, this is of course an area that is very important to us and we continue to work very closely with our partners such Guide Dogs UK and Lighthouse for the Blind in San Francisco to ensure that their expertise is reflected in the design and development of Soundscape. For example, regarding the headset, we recommend that people only use the app with a headset they feel comfortable with and in a way that personally works best for them.
Since our launch, we have learnt that each person using Soundscape will use its features in ways that work best for them and the feedback that we receive is important in helping us understand how to get the most from the innovative 3D sound technology on which Soundscape is built. We’re sorry to hear that you think no one is listening to feedback but rest assured we read every piece of feedback we receive and respond directly where appropriate! The most direct way to get feedback to us is to use the feedback button in the app, or send an email directly to email@example.com.
My favorite navigation app
I love this app because I can just set it so I hear streets as I go by them and I can set beacons for places I want to remember, it just always makes me feel comfortable as a traveler. Even if I am in surroundings that I know very well, I still like to have it on just so I can just take a good long walk and not have to pay attention to where I’m going. Sometimes if I’m not paying too close attention and just walking without an app on, I can lose track of what streets I have crossed. With us at this app on, I can always be sure that I’ll hear the streets as I go buy them and keep much better track of where I am as I walk around my city. Thank you so much for a great app
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- Microsoft Corporation
- 84.3 MB
- Requires iOS 14.1 or later.
English, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian Bokmål, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish
- Age Rating
- This app may use your location even when it isn’t open, which can decrease battery life.
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