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Hans Jørgen Wiberg, who is visually impaired himself, came up with the idea for the application. Through his work at “The Danish Association of the Blind”, he recognized that visually impaired often need help to cope with everyday tasks, and he believed technology could help.
In April 2012, he presented his idea for an application at a startup event in Denmark. At this event, he connected with a team, ready to make Be My Eyes a reality. Since 2012, the team has worked diligently to make the app a reality on Apple’s iPhone, leveraging its Accessibility features.
On October 4th 2013, Hans presented the Be My Eyes idea in an impassioned Ted Talk, which continues to resonate with hundreds of thousands of volunteers around the globe.
The app was launched the 15th of January 2015 and within 24 hours had 10,000 users.
Furthermore, Be My Eyes is in the top ten of the Disrupt 100 2017. World-leading entrepreneurs, investors and business people name the businesses on the Disrupt 100, to be the ones with most potential to influence, change or create new global markets.
The community currently consists of more than 35,000 blind and visually impaired users and more than 500,000 volunteers. Our users live in 150 different countries and speak more than 95 languages, and the Be My Eyes community keeps growing. Thank you!
Within the iPhone feature set designed by Apple is the Accessibility option. Accessibility has a feature called VoiceOver, which enables visually impaired to use an iPhone with synthetic speech and a touch-based interface. We encourage all our volunteers to search YouTube for videos such as those by Tommy Edison that share the powerful impact an iPhone can have on the life of a visually impaired.
Find and download the app from Apple’s app store, follow the instructions in the app to create a profile, and add the languages you speak. You are now ready to call or receive a call. It is important to note that you don’t need to have the app open or running in the background in order to receive a request for help.
Right now there are more than 10 times the amount of volunteers compared to visually impaired users. We suggest that helpers only help in their mother tongue. This way we make sure that the visually impaired always gets help from a native speaker. If you are bilingual, you can choose your second language in the settings. You can always update the languages you have chosen.
When you receive a call for assistance, you will hear a ringtone, and the request will appear like a notification. You can answer the call by tapping the request or swiping it right. Introduce yourself and listen to the visually impaired person’s request. Enjoy the opportunity to be of assistance.
Unfortunately, as with any app, cases of misuse/abuse are almost impossible to prevent. We kindly ask users to report abusive behavior right after the call. You can do that by tapping the “Abuse” button. When you report abusive behavior, the other person will be excluded from the network. We currently exclude individuals under the age of 17 to limit potential concerns. In the future, parental support for visually impaired youth will be incorporated.
We are very thankful that you have signed up. We are actively working with organizations around the globe to increase the number of visually impaired users. Since there are more than ten times the amount of volunteers seeking to help compared to the visually impaired users, it can take some time before you receive a call. We encourage you to engage on Facebook, so you can actively help us build the community, learn about the difference we are all making in the lives of the visually impaired, and provide ideas on what we can do better. We are grateful to see the impressive amount of people willing to help, so please be patient – a call will definitely come.
The standard setting only allows you to receive calls from 7 AM to 10 PM in your local time zone. Therefore, you do not have to worry about receiving calls in the middle of the night. We are working on a feature to personalize the time availability settings and further enhance matching visually impaired with volunteers.
You do not need a Twitter account to help; it only provides you with more points if you do, but it does not restrict or affect your ability to help in any way.
No, you are ready to receive a call as soon as you have created your account and are logged in. You do not need the app to be open or running in the background. The standard setting on the app for receiving calls is from 7 AM to 10 PM in your local time zone. If you do not want to receive calls during a certain time, you can log out or use the “Do Not Disturb” function on your phone.
If you receive the message “Waiting to connect”, it should not take longer than a minute. If it takes longer than a minute, you should disconnect. If you are a visually impaired user, please try to re-dial. Due to the massive traffic of helpers trying to answer calls simultaneously, there might occur system problems. Please make sure you have a strong signal and a steady connection, as the application requires some bandwidth to show video in a sufficient quality.
If the application is unresponsive, it is most likely due to server problems. Do not worry, they will get fixed ASAP. Please try again later.
If you have created an account using your email, unfortunately, you are not able to insert a photo. However, if you sign up with your Facebook account, your Facebook picture should automatically be added to your profile.
Please find the button on the first screen of the app “Already registered? Log in here.” It is written with smaller letters and might be easy to miss. We will make it more user-friendly by time.
Be My Eyes is right now only available for iOS, but we are currently working on an Android version. If you wish to be amongst the first to get notified about it, please sign up at bemyeyes.com/android.
You are more than welcome to use our video, however, when doing so, please embed it. The video can be found on Vimeo. If you are not able to do so, you should provide a link to our website and the application in your description accompanying the video. You can format it in HTML or any other way you prefer.
You simply need to download the application, register, and you are ready to help. To be able to download the application, you will need an iPhone 4 or newer.
Volunteering for Be My Eyes is easy and unbinding. If you wish to help us with the translations for the app, please visit the page CrowdIn. You can either participate in further translations or verifications of the existing languages. Thank you so much for all your help beforehand! Being a small team, we really appreciate all the help we can get.
Being a small team, we encourage everyone to help us spread the word about the app. Please follow us on Twitter and Facebook and share your stories. Send us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org, if you are a media wanting to cover Be My Eyes. If you are a member of an organization or foundation for visually impaired, please spread the word in your network or community.
You cannot delete your account in the app. If you would like to delete it, please send us an email on email@example.com.