Yes, there is an app that allows strangers to volunteer to be the eyes for blind people. It is a free app called ‘Be My Eyes’ and it connects blind people with volunteers who can see. Through a live video call, the blind person and the volunteer can communicate directly and solve a problem. This way, ‘sighted volunteers lend their eyes to solve tasks big and small to help blind and low-vision people lead more independent lives’.
Isn’t it just wonderful when technology is used for such selfless noble acts of service?
How the app works
When a blind or a partially sighted person requests help on the app, a notification is sent to several volunteers. The volunteer who responds first to the request is connected to that person. Then, through a live video call between the blind person and the volunteer, the assistance is provided – checking expiry dates on products, navigating places, reading instructions, differentiating between colors, reading a street sign, etc.
Be My Eyes was founded in Denmark by Hans Jørgen Wiberg, who is visually impaired himself. Through his work for the Danish Association of the Blind, he got the idea of using video technology for sighted assistance combined with a network of sighted volunteers. More than 1.8 million volunteers comprise the global network of the Be My Eyes app. They are able to assist in more than 180 languages and are available whenever you want and as often as you need. Be My Eyes is great for reading labels on food items, organizing belongings, finding lost items and even trickier tasks like navigating through a new place or choosing an outfit to wear.
Here are some sighted volunteers on a Reddit post, talking about the app and how they enjoy being volunteers on it –
“I personally have been called on to help someone choose the right color sweater, adjust the thermostat accordingly, and help determine who sent a package. All wonderful experiences with people I wouldn’t have connected with otherwise!”
“I have had this app for MONTHS and I have gotten two calls, and both were pleasant and wonderful experiences. One was checking the expiry on a cold medication bottle and the other was checking to see if they had a certain spice.”
“I’ve helped someone identify a poster they got in the mail (and got a lesson about a foreign rock star, very cool!), find the right can of soup, resume a show on Netflix, and choose a beer! I love this app.”
“I helped someone with their medication, money, thermostat and….reverb settings on an electric keyboard. I expected the first three and was very glad to help. The last one was a total surprise but awesome. The guy was in the best mood, found the reverb he wanted and needed to remember the settings. What a great app!”
Install the Be My Eyes app on your phone and be a volunteer! Help Be My Eyes in reaching their goal to ‘make the world more accessible to people who are blind or have a low level of vision’.
Images: Be My Eyes Press Kit