Get ready to rush to the app store and download the coolest thing to hit the world of paying-it-forward. The new app Be My Eyes now makes it possible to actually participate in philanthropy FROM YOUR PHONE. Yup. There is actually an app for human kindness, and it has the potential to help a LOT of people.
Be My Eyes is an app designed to link sight-impaired people with seeing individuals through video chat. The idea is that sighted participants download the app, and then are notified when a blind participant needs their assistance with anything from choosing a can in the grocery story to picking the right movie from the Redbox.
Blind individuals face countless challenges in a single day, but the Be My Eyes app aims to reduce the stress that mundane errands can present. By simply linking to a direct video call, the app gives the sighted user the chance to lend his normal vision to the user on the other end. Together they are able to solve the challenge the blind person is facing. How’s THAT for community spirit?
It really couldn’t be any simpler to help somebody; you literally don’t even have to leave your couch. According to the Be My Eyes website: “The volunteer helper receives a notification for help and a live video connection is established. From the live video the volunteer can help the blind person by answering the question they need answered.” It’s as simple as that, and you can go the rest of the day feeling good that you helped someone else. Sounds like a win-win, right?
Founder Hans Jørgen Wiberg, who is visually impaired himself, came up with the idea and presented it at a Startup Weekend event in Denmark April 2012. He hopes “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.”
For now, Be My Eyes is only available for iPhones, versions 4S or higher, but other operating systems are on the way. If you want to help, download the app (I just did) now from the Apple Store and join a network that will link you with other individuals who need your assistance.
You can turn looking into helping. It’s that easy, really. Thelle Kristensen, spokesperson for the Be My Eyes organization gets right to the heart of it. She says, quite simply, “Now it’s possible to help blind people see right from your iPhone.” This kind of genius is meant to be shared. Get to downloading, folks!
Be My Eyes is a non-profit, open source organization, so they need your help. Go here to donate.