Be My Eyes is an app that has been around for a while now. However, I’m always late to the party and only got around to trying it out last week. It is an app that is designed for the visually impaired to enable them to borrow a pair of eyes on demand. It requires sighted volunteers to sign up and offer a few seconds or minutes of their time when needed. It is a pretty simple, but effective concept. The visually impaired person requests assistance via the app, then a registered sighted person will receive a video call. If the sighted person is busy, they can reject the call and the app will try another sighted helper. There are about sixteen times the amount of sighted people registered compared to visually impaired, so the likely hood of being contacted is quite slim. Nevertheless, if you are and available to answer, you can feel good that you have helped a visually impaired person out and the recipient will definitely be grateful of the assistance.
Luckily for me despite living by myself, I am in regular contact with sighted people. So I have plenty of opportunities to ask for a working pair of eyes to check things for me. However, last week it was fairly late and I needed to know what denomination a note was in my purse before I travelled the next morning. I was fairly sure it was £5 or £10, but couldn’t remember and had no other notes to measure it against. After a little reluctance, I decided to use Be My Eyes. I was a little hesitant at first, as I got phone phobia. There’s something a bit scary about talking to and trusting a stranger. I was worried that the person would be able to see my face, though a friend assured me that the app uses the back facing camera. I’m not sure why I wanted to keep my anonymity, perhaps I felt embarrassed that I needed help for such a basic task.
Anyway, once I remembered I needed to turn on my light (it is really bad that I live in the dark the majority of the time), I took the plunge. I was slightly alarmed when an automated voice started speaking to me, he was saying something along the lines that he was trying to connect me to the next available helper and there was some pleasant music whilst I waited. It couldn’t have been more than a minute before a young female answered with a West Country lilt. I put on my best phone voice, as you do and spoke very formally when asking what the denomination of my note was, crossing my fingers that it was actually in view of the camera. She politely told me it was £10, I thanked her and we said our goodbyes. It was so easy and somewhat refreshing knowing there was someone out there willing to give up part of their Friday night to help me.
Now I’ve gotten over my silly fears, I’ll certainly be using the app again in future. I do despise technology at times, but it really can be a wonderful thing.
I highly recommend Be My Eyes, search for it in the app store and sign up today.