Using augmented reality and 3D audio, Microsoft has completed research on Project Soundscape. This technology allows people to navigate destinations and unfamiliar places with sound and will be available as open-source software on January 3, 2023. The application’s source code will be published on GitHub, and the documentation on how to build and use it will also be published.
Microsoft’s Project Soundscape was founded in 2017 as a unique form of navigation technology that offers 3D, augmented reality audio and an immersive experience through sound. Launched on iOS the following year, the application touts ambient sounds and audio beacons that get different audio cues from points depending on how the user approaches them. This eliminates the need to follow instructions on a small display, allowing audio to enhance mobility, broaden the navigation experience and improve accessibility.
The Soundscape will no longer be available for download from the App Store when it is open-sourced. However, those who have already installed it can use it until June 2023. The same applies to the Azure service that enabled the application, which is planned to deal with bugs and service outages during the same period. The open-source release will only support iOS, just like the original project.
Through Soundscape’s journey, one can explore many valuable experiences, such as improving mobility coaches’ abilities, understanding the role of sound in adaptive sports, and helping the visually impaired to go places and find what they need in their lives. By making the Soundscape code available as open-source software, its possibilities can be further increased.
It’s unclear what decisions were made inside the company to make this move. Open sourcing sounds good, but considering the current global economic situation, it is possible that this was done to cut costs.