Be My Eyes Connects Blind with Sighted Aid

Posted by at 4:17 pm on January 19, 2015

Be My EyesDenmark-based developer Be My Eyes has created an application to connect the blind with sighted users, to help with everyday tasks. The app, eponymously called Be My Eyes so far has helped nearly 3,400 blind users with a routine task through an iOS device camera, with tasks as mundane as reading an expiration date, or as complicated as a street crossing, or navigating an unfamiliar area.

New blind users will be met by a experienced helper, and vice versa. By the end of each session, there will be an opportunity to rate or report misuse, both for the helper and the user. People who misuse the system will be excluded from the network.

The open-source app leverages Apple’s VoiceOver technology, and is only available at the moment for the iPhone 4s and above. The system that Thermodo is using can only handle video between iPhones, but the company is aware of Android and Windows Phone users requesting the app.

Be My Eyes is a nonprofit, and the app is free, but there are costs related to keeping Be My Eyes up and running, mostly in server and bandwidth costs. By September, initial funding will come to an end, and the company will have to come up with a sustainable business model. On the table are a subscription model and user donations.

MacNN has been enlisted on two occasions to help a blind individual with a task, once for checking the safety seal on a medication, and once to assist a shopper with a color choice in a Target store. Over a 4G network, the video is excellent — the biggest challenge is negotiating directions for pointing the camera in the right direction for the proper information to be relayed.

Be My Eyes – helping blind see from Be My Eyes on Vimeo.


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