THIS MOBILE APP IS LENDING EYES TO THE BLIND

THE APP CONNECTS BLIND AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED INDIVIDUALS WITH A COMMUNITY OF SIGHTED VOLUNTEERS

Be My Eyes is an iPhone app that connects blind and visually impaired individuals with a community of sighted volunteers. Both parties install the app, and when the blind person needs help, he or she uses the app which calls out to the network of volunteers. A live video stream from the blind person's device to the screen of the volunteer's device enables both parties to solve practical challenges in real time.

WHAT IS 'BE MY EYES'?

Be My Eyes is a free mobile application designed to bring sight to blind and visually impaired users. With the press of a button, the app establishes a live video connection between blind and visually impaired users and sighted volunteers. Every day, volunteers are lending their eyes to solve challenges both big and small in the lives of the blind and visually impaired.

With over half a million users across 150 countries, Be My Eyes has grown to become the largest online community for the blind and visually impaired. The app harnesses the power of generosity, technology and human connection to help blind and visually impaired individuals lead more independent lives.

Blind users can request help from a sighted person and the sighted users will then be called for help. As soon as the first sighted user accepts the request for help a live audio-video connection will be set up between the two and the sighted user can tell the blind person what they see when the blind user points their phone at something using the rear-facing camera.

As a sighted user you don't need to worry about missing a call and 'leave a blind person hanging' - you are a part of the bigger Be My Eyes helper-network and they will find the next available sighted person in the network. The challenges that the blind person needs help with can be anything from knowing the expiry date on the milk to getting help crossing the street.

Currently available for iPhone only, an Android version is under development to be released in the near future.

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HOW ARE PEOPLE USING THE BE MY EYES APP?

There are many situations where a pair of friendly eyes can be helpful for those with visual impairment, and Be My Eyes is used to solve a wide range of daily tasks.

The following list provides examples of some of the creative ways people have been using the Be My Eyes app:

Finding lost items

Describing pictures, paintings or other pieces of artwork

Matching or explaining colours

Reading labels on household products

Reading on computer screens, if websites are inaccessible, or screen readers are not available

Shopping in supermarkets

Identifying the expiration date on perishable food packages

Familiarising yourself with new locations

Distinguishing between products (Canned foods, shampoos and soaps, spices etc.)

Determining if lights are turned on or off

Finding out when public transportation (busses, trains, etc.) are departing or arriving

Resolving electrical or technical issues

Today there are over half a million sighted volunteers in the Be My Eyes community who are ready and willing to assist a blind or visually impaired user.

Mike PalmerComment