If you’re looking for a very easy way to do good in the world and make a difference in people’s lives, be sure to check out the app Be My Eyes. Many people want to help others but don’t have the time or opportunity to do so. Be My Eyes lets you help blind people all over the world and gives you that feel-good feeling with minimal time and effort on your part.
Be My Eyes is brought to us by Hans Jørgen Wiberg and Thelle Kristensen, Danish developers who are offering the services of the app free. The app helps blind people deal with daily issues of life by connecting them with sighted people who are willing to help. Users access video chat in the app so sighted people can identify objects for people who are visually impaired.
This video shows you how Be My Eyes works:
Here are some examples of ways sighted people using the app can help blind people.
- Reading a street sign
- Reading the expiration date on a milk carton
- Seeing whether lights are on or off in a room
- Seeing whether a can is filled with soup or dog food
- Reading a number on an apartment door
Using the App
The app works on iPhone 4S and later models. You can download the app from the iTunes App Store here: Be My Eyes App. The app is free to download and free to use.
After you download the app you identify yourself as a blind or sighted person. As a sighted person, you watch a video showing you how you can help blind people by using the app, giving you added incentive to sign up for Be My Eyes.
For those who identify as blind, the app automatically activates the VoiceOver accessibility feature of the iPhone.
You’re asked to register an account with Be My Eyes, using either email or Facebook. The app also requests access to your camera and microphone so you can connect with others using the app. You’re also asked to allow notifications for the app so you can be alerted to requests. You need to allow all three when prompted so the app can work properly.
You register for languages you speak to help connect you with blind people around the world who speak your language(s). The app is currently available in: English, Bokmål, Norwegian, Catalan, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian Nynorsk, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish, Traditional Chinese, Turkish, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese.
As a helper you can gain points for watching the video and sharing the app with others on Facebook and Twitter. You also earn points for helping others so you can “level up”. The points as well as a rating system by both sighted and blind users assist in identifying the best helpers.
Those who believe in the good of humanity can point to the large number of people willing to help others using this app: the app was launched only last week and has immediately become successful. A running counter at the Be My Eyes website shows registrations of nearly 70,000 sighted users plus over 5,000 blind users, with more than 11,000 instances of the app helping people.
With so many sighted users signing up to help, you may have to wait a while to get a request if you’re sighted. If you’re blind, you should be able to get connected with a helper quickly.
If you get a request but can’t help at that time, you can pass and let another helper take that one. With thousands of helpers available through the app, you don’t have to feel guilty in taking a pass when the request comes at an inconvenient time. But you can still feel good about signing up for this app and offering to help others around the world.
Do you like the idea of sighted people helping blind people around the world? Will you be signing up for Be My Eyes? Do you know anyone who could be helped by Be My Eyes? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments section below!