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Microsoft Soundscape app: being discontinued or new life?

A popular O&M navigation app is being discontinued - or not?

Updated July 6, 2023

VoiceVista is now in the App Store with the description, “Soundscape Resurrection”. This FREE app is based on the open-source Soundscape project. The description includes:

” The app utilizes cutting-edge iOS audio technology and precise location services to enable people to develop a greater awareness of their surroundings. It provides comfort in unfamiliar spaces, supporting individuals in creating mental maps and making personal route choices. VoiceVista is an essential app for the blind and low vision users’ community. It is based on Microsoft’s discontinued and open-source project Soundscape and is licensed under the MIT License.”

Screenshot of the VoiceVista app in the App Store.

Update June 30, 2023

Microsoft Soundscape has received an extension of 2 months; it will now be available through August 30, 2023. The original shutdown date was June 30, 2023. Note that Microsoft is not actively working to keep Soundscape fully functioning and the app now has errors which are game breakers.

Microsoft has left the Soundscape code as open-source – free for anyone to use or modify and redistribute. NCBI shares that there are two known apps in development: Soundscape For All and OpenScape, so stay tuned!

December 16, 2022:

The popular mobility app, Microsoft Soundscape, will no longer be available for download from the App Store after January 3, 2023. Existing downloads of the app will work until the end of June 2023. Released in the U.S. six years ago, Soundscapes is hailed as “a map delivered in 3D sound’. Soundscapes utilizes spatial audio navigation, enabling users to build an in-depth awareness of their surroundings and supports users in building mental maps.

Microsoft created Soundscapes as a research project; the project will reach its conclusion on January 3, 2023. At that time, Soundscapes will be released as an ‘open-source’ software, meaning that the original source code is freely available and may be modified and redistributed. Microsoft is hopeful that others will take the source code and run with it!

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by Diane Brauner

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