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 application 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 the its Accessibility features.
On Oct 4, 2013, Hans presented the Be My Eyes idea in an impassioned Ted Talk ( https://youtu.be/IfeLJxCSLC0 ) that continues to resonate with hundreds of thousands of volunteers around the globe. The app was launched the 15th of January 2015. Our volunteers speak more than 50 languages and are community has grown around the world. 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 the visually impaired.
I know what you’re thinking – blind people are so badass, they don’t need help! And it’s true! They navigate entire cities on their own, blind! But even though blind people often have four supersonic senses left, they’re not Sherlocks, and they need help once in a while! Be My Eyes provides that help.
Find and download the app from the Apple’s app store, follow the instructions in the app to create a profile and add the languages you speak. Then you should be ready to call or receive a call. It is important to note, that you don’t need to have the app open or in the background in order to receive a request to 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 are sure, that the visually impaired always get 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 it 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 persons’ 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 vs the visually impaired users, it can take some time before you receive a call. We encourage you to engage us 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 keep be patient, a call will definitely come.
The standard setting only allows you to receive calls from 7AM to 10PM 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 have it, 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 opened or even running in the background. The standard setting on the app for receiving calls is from 7AM to 10PM 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 in 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 it again later.
If you are experiencing this when trying to open the app, please try to open it one more time or delete the app and download it again. If it is crashing while trying to login with Facebook, go to system settings and make sure, that the Be My Eyes app has access to your Facebook account. If the app still crashes, please let us know.
Points are awarded to you, when you use the app, answer calls, and share your experiences with Be My Eyes on social media. The points merely work as an incentive and our goal is to expand our recognition of everyone’s contribution. The “levels” indicate your level of experience based on the points. It is only for yourself to see.
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 be automatically 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.
Currently, Be My Eyes is only available for iOS, but we have plans of developing an Android version. If you wish to be amongst the first ones to get notified about it, please sign up at bemyeyes.org/android. We do not have plans about developing a Windows version. However, depending on the future direction, it might be a consideration. Nonetheless, if you would like to participate in making a Be My Eyes client for another platform, please check out our GitHub Repository or get in touch on Twitter.
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.
We have been receiving a broad media coverage after the launch, and therefore we are constantly looking for users around the world using the application and willing to share their experiences with Be My Eyes. If you would like to become a case person, please write us an email on email@example.com. Please write a short description of your experiences with Be My Eyes, together with some contact information (name, email, phone, country and city).
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 with further translations or verification of the existing languages. Thank you so much for all your help on 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 Facebookand 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.
If you would like to donate for the organization, you can do so on the homepage. We are extremely thankful for all the donations, which help us keep the application running.
You cannot delete your account in the app, if you would like to delete it, please send us an email on email@example.com.