Cities Unlocked, a partnership between Microsoft, Guide Dogs and Future Cities Catapult, has reported the results of the first phase of testing a new headset, designed to revolutionise the experience of navigating urban landscape for visually impaired people.

As part of the collaboration, the smart headset with Microsoft 3D audio technology was developed to help these people to confidently explore the city and surroundings on their own.

The new Cities Unlocked headset was built in partnership with AfterShokz and is paired with a Windows phone handset.

Guide Dogs head of strategy and research Jenny Cook said: "People living with sight loss face a multitude of challenges every day that can prevent them from getting where they want to be in life.

"Currently, visiting a new city is often daunting, even for people with enough confidence to tackle the challenge independently.

"For others, who rarely leave home alone, the thought of an unfamiliar journey leaves them stressed and anxious, and visiting a new area is an impossible dream.

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.
"The new Cities Unlocked headset was built in partnership with AfterShokz and is paired with a Windows phone handset."

"We’re breaking new ground with this project. By working with people who are living with sight loss and developing a deep understanding of the challenges they face, we’ve shown the right technology can empower people.

"At Guide Dogs, we already work with thousands of people to help them realise their potential, but we’re confident that this technology, alongside guide dogs and other mobility aids, can open up new possibilities for many people living with sight loss."

The new headset works with a Windows phone and aids orientation, navigation and offers contextual information such as shops, points of interest, and additional journey details.

In order to create a personalised 3D soundscape transmitted through the wearers jaw bone, cloud based location and navigation data works with a network of information beacons in urban locations.

Image: The new smart headset will allow people with sight loss to independently and spontaneously explore their city and surroundings. Photo: courtesy of the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association 2014.