– Ed

Here is an opportunity to be of great assistance to the visually impaired by signing up as a volunteer. Be My Eyes is a free app that connects blind and low-vision people with sighted volunteers and company representatives for visual assistance through a live video call.

History of Be My Eyes

The idea behind Be My Eyes originates from the Danish 50 year old furniture craftsman Hans Jørgen Wiberg, who started losing his vision when he was 25 years old. His wish is that the App will make both the everyday life of blind people easier and provide a new flexible opportunity to volunteer. To quote Wiberg, “It is flexible, takes only a few minutes to help and the app is therefore a good opportunity for the busy, modern individual with the energy to help others.”

This amazing App will help people who are blind or visually impaired “see” things with the help of sighted volunteers and the video cameras on their iPhones. Through a direct video call the App gives blind people the opportunity to ask a sighted volunteer for help, for tasks that require normal vision. The person who is blind “borrows” the helper’s eyes all through his or her smartphone. The sighted helper is able to see and describe what the blind person is showing the sighted helper by filming with the video camera in the smartphone. That way, by working together they are able to solve the problem that the blind person is facing. The Be My Eyes app is free and available in the AppStore.

Core Philosophy of the App

The core philosophy of this app is the idea that we all need help at times and people are willing to help. It connects us to each other in a special way and there are benefits for both parties. Aren’t we living in amazing times?

Signing up is super easy. Just search for Be my eyes in the App Store.
The App harnesses the power of generosity, technology and human connection to help blind and low-vision people lead more independent lives. Be My Eyes is accessible in more than 150 countries worldwide and in over 180 languages. The app is free and available for both iOS and Android.

Be My Eyes in the Kitchen

A lot of action happens in the kitchen. Many Be My Eyes’ users connect with volunteers for sighted assistance while cooking. A range of vision amongst users means a range of ways in which the app is used: sorting through groceries, checking if something is expired, doing the dishes, finding the cereal you want for breakfast – even choosing a good wine!

Warren from the UK uses Be My Eyes frequently, most often in the kitchen. He likes to label his food items in braille and is always sure to check their expiry date first. Be My Eyes is his go-to tool as soon as he gets home from grocery shopping: “When I come back, I don’t have to make such a conscious effort to remember everything, so I can label them correctly”,
he says.

Even the simplest tasks can make a world of difference to some users, like Julia from Florida. She first used Be My
Eyes while cooking dinner. Julia wasn’t able to tell if the chicken was done and decided to ask a volunteer to take a look. She recounts, “It was just amazing that someone from the other side of the world could be in my kitchen and help me with something”.

David from Wisconsin used Be My Eyes for a more mundane task: dish-washing. David was trying to clean his smoothie glass, which is tall, narrow and hard to scrub. He popped open the app and a volunteer let him know the glass was clean, so he could get on with the dishes.

If you’re a wine lover, Be My Eyes might be of use for you, too. Hans-Peter from Switzerland needed to make out the colour of a wine. He and a volunteer spent a few minutes trying to figure it out, until the volunteer asked her son for a second opinion. According to Hans-Peter, her son was a true wine expert and was able to answer all of his questions and pick out the right wine.

But Be My Eyes is not only for wine lovers. If you’re more of a coffee drinker, Be My Eyes can show to be really useful too. Norbert from Switzerland loves a good cup of mocca, and he has invested in a coffee maker that makes excellent capuchinos. However, the coffee maker shows the different types of coffee on a display that has two pages. Even though Norbert has memorised the order of the drinks on both pages, there is no way for him to tell which page he is on. In comes a Be My Eyes volunteer, who can tell Norbert which types of coffee are showed on the display, and Norbert will instantly know which page he is on!

Cooking is exciting for some and mundane for others, but either way, Be My Eyes uncomplicates things in the kitchen. Volunteers can be with you at your countertop, in your smoothie glass or beside your bottle of wine – whatever their eyes can do for yours.

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