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Microsoft launches free app to help Canadians navigate the world around them

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As the next step on the journey to creating a more accessible Canada for all, Microsoft Canada announced the availability of Soundscape, an app that empowers people who are blind or partially sighted to explore the world around them through a 3D audio experience. 

Unlike traditional navigation apps that provide turn by turn directions, Soundscape uses 3D audio – meaning the sounds are perceived as coming from the direction of the point of interest – and location awareness to provide users with information to help build a mental map of their surroundings and empower them to make their own navigational choices.

A screen grab of an iPhone screen. The Microsoft Soundscape app is highlighted.By setting an audio beacon on a chosen destination or a familiar landmark, a user can use Soundscape to keep track of that location as they move outdoors on foot or in a vehicle. The app also calls out roads, intersections and landmarks as the user passes, aiding in discoverability. 

Microsoft worked closely with the CNIB Foundation and Vision Loss Rehabilitation Canada during beta testing. 

Canada is the fourth market globally to launch Soundscape after the U.S., U.K. and Australia, and the first to launch in two languages – English and French. 

Soundscape is free on iOS and iPhone in both English and French.

As Microsoft makes Soundscape available to the public, they want to hear from customers about their experiences. Visit the Soundscape project page for more information, share feedback through the accessibility UserVoice and contact the Disability Answer Desk for support.

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