Microsoft announced that it is bringing its Soundscape research project to the next phase. According to the Redmond company, it will start making the Soundscape code as open-source software on GitHub starting next year. Alongside this news, it confirmed that it would remove the Microsoft Soundscape iOS app from the App Store on the same date. Nonetheless, the company added that existing app installs can still work until June 2023 ends.
“Beginning January 3, 2023, the Soundscape code will be available as open-source software, so that anyone can continue to build on, and find new ways to leverage, this novel feature set for the growing navigation opportunities in today’s world,” Microsoft announces in its research blog. “Also on January 3, 2023, the Microsoft Soundscape iOS app will no longer be available for download from the App Store, although existing installations can continue to be used until the end of June 2023.”
The Soundscape is a research project of Microsoft focusing on augmented-reality and three-dimensional audio that provides information about a person’s location and points of interest. It is far from the conventional navigation mobile apps that rely on displays and is focused on delivering navigational solutions for blind or low-vision individuals.
Microsoft stresses that the decision to make the code open-source will allow “broader development” by engaging the community that will benefit from it.
“As Microsoft Research continues to expand into new accessibility innovation areas, we hope the open-source software release of the Soundscape code supports the community in further developing confidence and utility of spatial audio navigation experiences,” the company adds. “By making the Soundscape code available as open-source software, we hope the interest and potential continues to grow.”
In relation to this, Microsoft also confirmed that the user feedback on the Microsoft Soundscape app and Azure services enabling it would be supported until the end of June 2023. It explained that while it would fix future bugs within the said period, it wouldn’t address requests for features or capabilities. Lastly, it added that the Microsoft Soundscape Authoring app will end on January 17, 2023.