Blind users can be instantly connected to a remote volunteer to “borrow their eyes” for just a minute
“Have you ever considered volunteering to make this world a little bit better, but you didn’t have the time, or it was too complicated to squeeze into your schedule? Well, now you can. Now there is an app for that,” said Be My Eyes inventor, Hans Jørgen Wiberg at his TEDxCopenhagen talk.
The idea for the application came from Wiberg, a 50-year-old Danish furniture craftsman who has been losing his vision since he was 25. Through his work at “The Danish Association of the Blind” he recognized that visually impaired often need help to cope with smaller everyday tasks. In April, 2012 he presented the idea for an application at a startup event in Denmark. At this event he met the rest of the Be My Eyes team. Since 2012 the team has worked diligently to make the vision a reality, releasing the app in January 15th, 2015.
Be My Eyes makes life easier for people with a visual impairment by connecting them with sighted helpers through a smartphone app. This allows people with a visual impairment to handle big and small everyday tasks, while the sighted get the joy of helping someone in need in an easy and informal way.
For you, it only takes a minute to choose the right can from the shelf, look at the expiration date on the milk or find the right thing to eat in the fridge. For the visually impaired, small domestic tasks can be big challenges.
“The app makes it possible to get help at times where it might be inconvenient to get help from neighbors or friends, and you don’t have to go apologetically and ask for help,” said John Heilbrunn, vice chairman of The Danish Association of the Blind.
Be My Eyes is the first app on the market which allows people with a visual impairment to get in contact with sighted helpers via a direct video call. The system is built to forward the call until answered, establishing a connection to the first available helper. If you’re too busy to take the call, no problem – it just goes to the next person on the list.
How to get started
Find and download the free app from Apple’s app store, follow the instructions in the app to create a profile, and add the languages you speak. That’s it. You’re ready to call or receive a call.
Micro-volunteering? There’s an app for that.
About Be My Eyes
Be My Eyes is a non-profit startup based in Copenhagen, backed by the Danish Blind Society, the Velux Foundations and the software development studio Robocat.
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This article (New App Helps You Give Sight to the Blind) was created by Brad Rowland, at Highlyuncivilized.com, December 9th, 2015, with source material from Be My Eyes, used with permission under this Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license. For more information, visit the Be My Eyes FAQ.