Microsoft's HoloLens Assists Blind Users By Providing Audio Prompts

Accessibility is clearly an important foundation for Microsoft. 

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Despite Microsoft's HoloLens essentially being built for consumers who aren't visually impaired, the company is making changes to the unit to ensure that even those who can't use its visual aspects are still able to participate. And as far as accessibility is concerned, the HoloLens hits something of a home run.

New research has shown that it can actually be used as a viable visual prosthetic device for those with visual impairment, helping to guide the blind with audio cues and instructions to assist them with everyday tasks. There are also bigger waves being made when it comes to replacing and repairing vision in its entirety in the future. If that can't be done, however, the HoloLens could try to help replace the perception part of vision.

The HoloLens' functionality for the blind is designed around sound, much like the way echolocation works. Sound bounces off items in the home, and relays the information to the user. You could potentially select an object to sound out a callout so users can find the items in the house, and it even works while in motion.
During a test where seven blind users were given a unit to test it out without real training, the users could all locate and point to objects with simple audio cues, which is an amazing development.

Right now this kind of functionality for the HoloLens is clearly in its early stages of development, but with additional testing and care, it could grow to be an integral part of assistive technology to improve users' lives.

Senior Editor

Fueled by horror, rainbow-sugar-pixel-rushes, and video games, Brittany is a Senior Editor at Shacknews who thrives on surrealism and ultraviolence. Follow her on Twitter @MolotovCupcake and check out her portfolio for more. Like a fabulous shooter once said, get psyched!

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