If you want to be more productive on your morning commute, download the Be My Eyes app.
The free mobile app, which has been promoted by The Guardian, BBC, CNN, Mashable, and more, has one main goal: to make the world more accessible for blind and low-vision people.
It connects blind and low-vision users to sighted volunteers through a video call.
Blind and low-vision people can download the app and enter a live video call whenever they need help.
It could be helping them identify the ingredients of a snack bar over lunch, looking at expiry dates on food, or locating their missing keys on the floor.
Via the video call, the blind person and their volunteer can communicate directly and solve a problem.
The app launched in 2015, and has attracted more than 3,500,000 volunteers and helped almost 200,000 blind and low-vision users in 150 countries using 180 languages.
Anyone aged 17 or over can sign up as either a visually impaired user or volunteer, and calls are automatically connected based on daytime timezone and language.
At present, visually impaired users wait around 15 seconds to be connected to a willing helper, an impressive feat.
When a call has been answered, the visually impaired user will enter into a one-way video call (and a two-way audio call), so that the volunteers can see what’s in front of the user’s camera and offer verbal support.
Once they’ve received the help they need, visually impaired users can hang up.
Some of the most popular use cases for Be My Eyes include:
- Reading home appliances
- Reading product labels
- Matching outfits and identifying clothes
- Help in the kitchen
- Reading digital displays or computer screens
- Navigating TV or game menus
- Operating vending machines or kiosks
- Sorting music collections or other libraries
- Picking jewelry or crafts
The key to the app’s success is its community; the more people who have the app installed on their iOS or Android device,t the more blind and low-vision people can be helped for free.
If you’re interested in getting involved, download the app on the Apple App Store today.