People rely heavily on their eyes to navigate through everyday situations, so what happens when your vision is severely impaired? Technology is working hard to solve many problems, including the best way to help the blind and visually impaired. A new app called Be My Eyes allows those who cannot see with their eyes, to see their surroundings with words.
With the Be My Eyes app, users direct their camera at a room or object that they need to see, and a volunteer sees a live video feed of what the user’s camera picks up. So if a visually impaired person needs to know the expiration date on a milk carton, find their way to an exit, or solve some other problem, they can get help from a volunteer, who will help them “see” what they need to see via a detailed description.
Would-be volunteers can sign up, create a profile, and start helping people right away. Volunteers earn points and get promoted to new levels, as they help more people. The volunteer network also serves as a social community of good samaritans. Meanwhile, those who are visually impaired get easy access to people who truly want to help.
“It’s my hope that by helping each other as an online community, Be My Eyes will make a big difference in the everyday lives of blind people all over the world,” wrote the app’s founder, Hans Jørgen Wiberg on the company website.
Of course, those who can see may also use the app if they need assistance with something, but it’s specially made for those who truly need it most. Right now, the Be My Eyes website is tracking how many people have used the service, based on their level of vision. While many are blind or visually impaired, many others are not. Since the app is new, it’s possible that people are just curious about how it works. However, more than 2,500 people have been helped so far.
Currently, it’s only available for iOS, but an Android version is coming soon, as is support for more languages. You can check out Be My Eyes on the App Store.
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