Be My Eyes is an iOS app that helps you to lend your eyes to the blind through video or audio calls. The app and idea have been developed by a small Danish startup as a non-profit service where normal sighted people signup to help the blind. According to Tech Crunch, the service also recently caught the attention of Jack Dorsey, Twitter and Square co-founder.
Here is how it works: If you are of normal sight you signup into Be My Eyes as a volunteer. If there is a blind or visually impaired person seeking for help, the service sends you a notification. Once you both are a match, the service connects both of you through a video or audio call. If it is a video call, the visually impaired person will point to whatever they need help with, if it’s a voice call you will listen to what the person requiring help has to say. You will then go ahead to solve the problem as the normally sighted person.
According to the service, over 13,000 people have signed up as volunteers to hep the blind and over 2,000 blind people have received the help they required. Be My Eyes co-founder Thelle Kristensen says that most of the solved cases have been of mostly blind people requiring to find something in the fridge or help with a commodity like checking the expiry date of a food item. He has also helped another person to navigate their audio player and also helped another to find the door number when they were in a location they are not familiar with.
The app has two most prominent features so far which stand out. The first is a blocking feature, where if a volunteer or a visually impaired person find that they were not the correct match for either of them, they can block to ensure that there will not be future matching for the both of them with each other again. The second feature is a system where volunteers gain points the more they lend their eyes to the blind people who have signed up which should encourage volunteers to keep coming back.
Despite the incredible stats, Thelle Kristensen maintains that the service is a non-profit and will remain that way, at least as far as the main service of the app is concerned. However, possible monetizing options might include in-app purchases when you need more help than has been offered. The startup has received full support from the Danish Blind Society, the Velux Foundations and the software development studio Robocat.