Microsoft Soundscape uses 3D audio technology to enhance your awareness of what is around you, and thereby help you get around and explore your surroundings.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Soundscape voice has been replaced with the familiar voices available in iOS. This change provides you with a wide range of voices to choose from and takes up less room on your phone. Additional voices, including enhanced quality voices, can be downloaded in the Spoken Content section of the iOS accessibility settings.
Ratings and ReviewsSee All
It’s beta, but with so much potential
I am not visually impaired. U I downloaded the application because I wanted to see what it was like to get an awareness of my surroundings in a completely different way. So on my vacation, I used the Soundscape app to navigate my way around a tourist destination. It was really fascinating to have streets, stores and other landmarks pointed out to me that I had never noticed before. I was using soundscape in conjunction with the “What 3 Words” app to pin markers to exact locations instead of street addresses.
I think this technology has huge potential for the sighted, to draw our attention to overlooked resources or points of interest when a roulette are in surroundings that are visually overwhelming such as dense urban environments or in crowds.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Great app, and looking forward to it being greater
I have been using this app for the past two days, and overall, I enjoy it a lot. The virtual navigation mode is great for it allows you to explore communities worldwide. And I enjoy the audio beacon feature as well. If this app had turn by turn directions within the app without the use of third-party applications, and could alert you of upcoming intersections, say within 150 feet of the intersection, I think this app would be even more useful to others. Thanks so much for its creation.
Data Not Linked to You
The following data may be collected but it is not linked to your identity:
- Health & Fitness
- Search History
- Usage Data
Privacy practices may vary, for example, based on the features you use or your age. Learn More
- Microsoft Corporation
- 88.4 MB
- Requires iOS 13.0 or later.
English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish
- Age Rating
- This app may use your location even when it isn’t open, which can decrease battery life.
- © 2019 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
With Family Sharing set up, up to six family members can use this app.