I had a chance to play with the K-Sonar at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). I spent about 15 minutes with the device. I like the mode where it sounds like a machine gun that is, I get rapid clicks. I was able to move around and the looming effect when I was going to collide with an obstacle is superb.
I naturally began to compare it with the vOICe. Yes, I am comparing apples and oranges since sensory substitution is different from sonar but I took the perspective of both being used for navigation. I found the vOICe to be significantly richer in giving me information about what is around me. Obstacle detection though is something you have to get used too. There is no looming effect and the shape of the obstacle just fills the view. I wish the vOICe could have the looming feature since I would get the best of both worlds. It is nice to know that I am going to collide with something but when using sonar, I don’t know what that thing is.
Other than that my familiarity with soundscapes came in handy since I was able to use the K-Sonar without any training. The researchers were amazed. Other users had not liked the device at all and found it useless.
The form factor is nice in terms of size but it is a bit fat for my palm. I wish the attachment to slide it on to the cane was detachable.