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Microsoft's new Windows Phone-compatible headset helps blind people navigate

Image via Press Association

Microsoft has designed a new headset which suits a very special purpose: helping the visually impaired.

The headset is designed to help blind people navigate their way around cities and other crowded areas by conducting sound through the jawbone and utilizing a system of GPS beacons and other cloud-based markers to guide the visually impaired as they travel throughout their day.

It works via a connection to Windows Phone, and pulls connection and location data to give the blind a feel for their surroundings. It even has the capability to give warnings in certain situations, like when objects may cross the user's path.

Microsoft will surely receive a great deal of goodwill from designing the headset, but more importantly, it could potentially affect the lives of millions of blind people - at least 180,000 visually impaired never leave their homes, according to charitable organization Guide Dogs, all people who could significantly benefit from the headset.

The technology also has room to expand, and could provide benefits to a larger demographic of people via the location data it utilizes. Although it has physical limitations, the data itself could be used in a variety of different ways.

At current, the headset is only available for use in the United Kingdom. Microsoft hasn't said whether they plan to expand it to other markets, but considering that it was developed in collaboration with a British-based charity, an international rollout may take time.

Source: BBC

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