Microsoft headset to help blind people navigate cities

A headset that talks visually impaired people around cities has been designed by Microsoft.

It works with a Windows phone and uses location and navigation data with a network of information beacons in urban locations to describe routes.

The headset was tested on a journey from Reading to London, including shopping, bus and train travel.

The charity Guide Dogs, which helped develop the technology, said it could help improve lives.

Of the two million registered visually impaired people in the UK, 180,000 rarely or never go out, according to the charity.

“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,” explained Jenny Cook, head of strategy and research at Guide Dogs.

“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.”

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