We are all accustomed to the fact that Microsoft does have a neck for innovation. From Office to Cortana, Microsoft is all about smart solutions to everyday problems. But Microsoft also has a soft spot for people with disabilities and vowed to do everything in its power in order to help them out. Thus, Microsoft designs headphones for blind persons.
Although there is no official statement from Microsoft, regarding how the actual headphones will look, how much will they cost or when will they be launched, we actually managed to get our hands on a couple of details regarding the new headset. According to sources inside Microsoft, the tech giant is working of two opposite fronts in terms of design and functionality.
The first design implies a headset capable of making the user aware of its environment. Of course, the headphones would have to be fitted with a couple of instruments such as proximity sensors, capable of actually helping its user navigate through the environment. Basically, the headphones are capable of warning its user with a clicking sound every time he is getting close to an obstacle. This design is maybe a little limited in terms of functionality.
The second design, had in mind, involves a much more sophisticated system. Remember those somewhat tedious creative writing classes, where the teacher would put a picture in front of you? What was your task? To describe the picture using your own words. Basically, this will also be the job of the device. Instead of warning him of incoming obstacles, the headphones could be used in order to provide an accurate description of the environment. Both methods sound appealing, but how will they implement this kind a technology inside a pair of headphones?
How would that work? We can’t say for sure, but it could be very well that this capability falls on the headphone’s internal sensors. To be able to describe an entire environment is very intricate. Even for a machine this seems like an impossible task.
Some time ago, a brilliant student from MIT, while working on improving a drone’s mapping system, came up with a solution to the problem. He said that in order to increase the drone’s autonomy, you don’t have to preprogram its maps. All you have to do is to develop new algorithms capable of real-time mapping of the environment.
Maybe Microsoft could use some of these ideas in order to augment its state-of-the-art headphones. When and where the headphones will be released we cannot say for sure. Microsoft only said that the headphones are just ideas.