Novel iPhone app guides the blind via video calling

January 24, 2015

With just a swift click of an iPhone button, sighted people can now lend their eyes to the blind.

Denmark-With just a swift click of an iPhone button, sighted people can now lend their eyes to the blind.

Created by Hans Jørgen Wiberg, the Be My Eyes app utilizes the iPhone’s video calling capability to allow sighted volunteers to lend their eyesight to a blind person who needs assistance.

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According to the app’s website, “Be My Eyes makes life easier for the blind by connecting them with sighted helpers through a smartphone app. This allows the blind to handle big and small tasks, while sighted get the joy of helping someone else in a easy and informal way.”

The app has already recruited 87,571 sighted volunteers around the world to help the nearly 6,600 blind individuals who have signed up for the assistance.

According to the New York Daily News, the app works by first launching a video chat whenever it is activated. The blind person then points the phone’s camera to the problem and the volunteer can guide them verbally.

 

“Sighted volunteers can help tell the blind if their milk is expired, if they are walking in the right direction, or if they are buying the correct products at the grocery store,” the Daily News reported.

Those who are interested can sign up with Facebook or their email address.

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While there are no background checks or other security measures ensuring those involved act appropriately, users are able to report misuse of the app at the end of every session.

“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,” said Jørgen Wiber, who is visually impaired himself.

The app is currently free and is available only for iPhones, however the developers are working on expanding it to Android and Windows phones as well.