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Sunday, January 18, 2015

Be My Eyes for iOS helps aid the visually impaired


Be My Eyes for iOS

Checking the expiration date on a carton of milk or reading the label on a can in the kitchen cupboard are mundane tasks we perform without a second though. But these are challenges for the estimated 39 million people around the world who are blind - and the millions more with visual impairments. Danish developer Hans Jørgen Wiberg (Robocat) seeks to make life easier for the blind with the help of a new app - Be My Eyes.
Be My Eyes is available on iOS, and connects your device with sighted volunteers. Those with visual impairments can ask these volunteers for help with something that requires normal vision. The app uses Apple's FaceTime video conferencing, and rates the volunteers on a point system.

Be My Eyes seeks to build upon the success of live video-conferencing technology by recruiting a network of volunteers who were willing to lend a hand. In April 2012, Wiberg the pitched his idea at a Startup Weekend technology competition in Aarhus, Denmark - and won the prize for the most innovative concept.

Wiberg met his technical collaborator and co-founder, Thelle Kristensen, at the event. They've been working together for more than two years, refining the app.

Be My Eyes co-founders
Be My Eyes co-founders Thelle Kristensen, left, and Hans Jørgen Wiberg
Be My Eyes takes advantage of the iPhone’s voice, video and wireless networking capabilities, and such built-in accessibility features as VoiceOver, a screen reader that uses synthetic speech to tell the visually impaired user what apps are under their fingertips.

After downloading the free app, volunteers and the visually impaired complete a registration process that includes authorizing their phone’s microphone and rear-facing camera to be used by the app.

To request help, the user opens the app and touches a button to ask for a volunteer. Volunteers receive a notification, which they can either accept or ignore. Calls will only be taken from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m., so as not to disturb helpers in the middle of the night, said Wiberg.

Since launching this week in Apple’s App store, the app has already attracted 29,287 volunteers and 2,600 blind and visually impaired users. It’s available worldwide, in 10 languages live in the AppStore and has been translated to 31 languages (10 of them crowdsourced). You can download Be My Eyes for iOS directly on your device through the Apple App Store or by using the following link.

Download Download from iTunes
Price Free
Requirements iOS 7.0 or greater

Unfortunately an Android version of the Be My Eyes app is not yet available.



source - ReCode
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