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JBL launches AI-powered echolocation software, unlocking FPS games for visually impaired players

By Liu Hongzuo - on 16 Apr 2024, 1:44pm

JBL launches AI-powered echolocation software, unlocking FPS games for visually impaired players

JBL launches Quantum Guide Play, providing visual accessibility via echolocation in FPS games.

Popular personal audio brand JBL launched a new assistive software for visually impaired players to better enjoy first-person shooter (FPS) games.

The JBL Quantum Guide Play is a Windows-only downloadable software built for visually impaired gamers who want to play FPS games. 

An example of how echolocation of in-game objects work with JBL Quantum Guide Play.

According to its official statement, JBL Quantum Guide Play uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to transform objects and structures inside a game into audio cues. These audio cues are built on the principles of JBL Quantum’s head tracking and Spatial Audio technology, mimicking echolocation and granting players added awareness of in-game surroundings. This allows visually impaired players to navigate in-game through sound.

Technical details of the JBL Quantum Guide Play software and how it works. Click to enlarge.

JBL said that JBL Quantum headphones are not needed to use JBL Quantum Guide Play, and that the software is a free tool for any user who requires it. It added that individuals with 0% vision are to seek assistance in setting up the program and using it for the first time.

"We recognise the immense potential of gaming to bring people together and provide immersive experiences for players of all abilities. Through JBL Quantum Guide Play, we are creating a platform that enriches the gaming experience for everyone, transcending limitations and building a more inclusive gaming community,” said Grace Koh, Vice President and General Manager, Consumer Audio, Harman Asia Pacific.

JBL said it worked with Ablegamers, a US-based non-profit organisation, and the visually impaired community to help create, develop, and refine JBL Quantum Guide Play. Ablegamers parks an estimated 50 million visually impaired players worldwide who would want to play video games that were conventionally inaccessible to them.

Sophie Soon, Singaporean para-athlete who helped playtest JBL Quantum Guide Play to develop its assistive features.

Among the visually impaired testers are also Singaporeans who helped improve the software. One of them is Sophie Soon, a para-swimming athlete who represented Singapore at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. The other is Josh Tseng, an accessibility consultant, advocate, and content creator for the visually impaired community in Singapore. 

JBL Quantum Guide Play with player in action.

For now, the assistive software is only compatible with Counter-Strike 2. JBL said the source code would be made open-source “soon”, allowing other companies or developers with FPS titles to include this free accessibility feature in their games.

JBL Quantum Guide Play can be downloaded from its official website here.

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