Microsoft has released an update to the iOS app SoundScape that adds support for the Bose AR Frames headset. Here’s a snippet from the release notes for version 2.0:
“Soundscape now supports audio augmented reality headsets, starting with the newly released Bose Frames. With the Bose Frames you can put away your phone in your bag or pocket and enjoy a hands-free Soundscape experience. The headset will track the direction of your head, allowing you to effortlessly hear the audio beacon and callouts in 3D. If you have the Bose Frames, you’ll need to set them up in Soundscape by tapping the Audio AR Headset item in the menu.”
What is SoundScape?
SoundScape is an iOS app that uses 3D audio to help you identify points of interest around you and their relative position. For example, you can search for a nearby bus stop and you will then hear an audible beep in your ear indicating the direction of the bus stop. So, if it’s on your left you will hear a repeating beep in your left ear and when you face that direction the beep will ‘move’ to indicate that the bus stop is now in front of you. It also gives you extra spoken information such as distance and your current location.
What Are Bose AR Frames?
The Bose AR Frames look like regular sunglasses but have some neat technology hidden inside. Firstly, there is a speaker built into each arm that ‘fires’ audio directly into your ears. This means that, like bone conduction headphones such as the AfterShokz, you can hear all environmental noise around you as well as whatever audio you’re playing through the Frames. Secondly, the glasses have sensors built-in to them meaning they can track the way you are facing or which way you are turning your head. This allows for some pretty impressive 3D audio environments where the audio will move depending on where you are ‘looking’. You can hear a hands-on review of the Bose AR Frames right here on Double Tap.
Why Should We Care?
By adding support for the Bose AR Frames, Microsoft SoundScape is now able to use the sensors of the Frames, instead of the ones built into the iPhone, to know in which direction you’re looking. As mentioned in the release notes, this means you can put the phone in your pocket, rather than holding it in front of you, and you will still hear the correct 3D audio cues. Obviously, not only could this be more convenient but also potentially safer then holding an expensive iPhone out in front of you in public.
Another interesting thing to take from the release notes is the mention of the Bose AR Frames being the first augmented reality headset to be supported. This does suggest that there may be more to come.