I often forget how easy things are for me because I can see the world around me and recognize objects and read words. But for those who are blind or partially visually impaired, simple tasks like knowing the expiry date on the milk carton can be very complicated.
That’s where the Be My Eyes service comes into play. Already available on iOS, the app has landed on Android and connects sighted volunteers with visually impaired users who need help with something. It uses an audio-video call to share what the blind/visually impaired person is seeing and allow them to talk to the sighted person and ask them questions.
As a sighted person, you download the app, choose the languages you speak, and specify your timezone so you’re not contacted during your night time. Then you’ll start getting notifications when a blind person needs help (there’s a big network so you shouldn’t be bothered very frequently) and if you don’t answer, it will be sent to another volunteer.
As a visually impaired user, you have to open the app and tap the big blue Call first available volunteer button. Calls are routed to available volunteers who speak your language and are usually answered within 45 seconds. You share your video with them while they can talk back to you via audio.
The app is anonymous, free, and allows unlimited audio-video calls of any length that’s necessary. Example uses include finding lost items, matching colors, reading labels and expiry dates on items, shopping, getting around in new environments, knowing when trains are coming or leaving, and so on.
If you want to give it a go, either as a volunteer or as a visually impaired/blind user, Be My Eyes is free and can be grabbed from the widget below.