Be My Eyes – the app that lets you lend your eyes to the blind – by Jeremy Chan

“Many of us cannot imagine our life without being able to see. However, for blind individuals or those with low vision, this is the reality they are faced with. The ability to perform common, everyday tasks that we take for granted are often challenging. With Be My Eyes, we aim to make these daily tasks easier through the help of the community and the power of technology.

Be My Eyes app

Be My Eyes is a non-profitable app designed to help the blind by simply connecting them with able-sighted volunteers from all around the world via video call. Essentially, this allows you to ‘lend’ your eyes to a visually-impaired person simply using just your phone.

When the app is downloaded, you will be asked whether you are sighted or blind. A blind individual can request assistance via the Voice Over iPhone app and connect Sign up for Be My Eyeswith someone on the network. As a sighted volunteer, you would receive a notification for help and a live video connection is established. However, if you are occupied during an incoming call, don’t sweat it – the request will be passed onto another volunteer.

As for the type of help typically being requested, I have personally been involved with checking expiry dates of food and locating misplaced remote controls. Other assistance has also included helping someone navigate through menus and finding street numbers.

This innovative concept is a great example of how technology is improving people’s lives. To date, over 121,000 volunteers have already signed up, while over 11,000 blind users are registered.

Founder Hans Jørgen Wiberg, who is visually impaired himself, developed the idea in 2012 and presented it at a Start-up Weekend event in Denmark. He hoped to show that as an online community, we can make a big difference to the lives of those all around the world.

Be My Eyes is currently only available for iPhones (versions 4S or higher), although an Android app is in the making. Simply, download the app from the Apple Store and join our network of eyes today, that together, can make a difference.”

Be My Eyes was featured on Channel 7’s Sunrise:

https://au.tv.yahoo.com/sunrise/video/watch/26387431/be-my-eyes/

Be My Eyes from the sighted volunteer’s point of view:

Be My Eyes App helper
Jeremy Chan is a second year Doctor of Optometry student at the University of Melbourne. His vision is to encourage everyone to be a part of a network of eyes through the Be My Eyes app (http://bemyeyes.org/) to help and improve the quality of life of individuals who are blind or have low vision.

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