In a recent copy of the Waitrose ‘Weekend’ newspaper I found out about an app called Be My Eyes and I downloaded it and signed up straight away.
‘Be My Eyes’ is a free app that connects blind and low-vision people with sighted volunteers and company representatives for visual assistance through a live video call’.
Blind or low-vision people can go onto the phone app and make a live video call to the ‘Be My Eyes’ community of sighted volunteers to ask for help with anything that requires vision…..maybe reading a label on a tin of food or reading what a sign says in a shop. There are lots of sighted volunteers signed up around the world which means that thankfully whenever someone goes onto the app for help they will get it – whatever the time of the day.If you would like to sign up you can do so by downloading the app here bemyeyes.com. The app is available on iOS and Android. I had my first call on about the 28th November and I helped a lady turn on VoiceOver on her mobile phone. It was such an amazing feeling being able to help someone when they needed it. I signed up & am so happy I did…..it would be great if you’d all do the same. I haven’t received any more calls since then but it’s just a case of waiting to see if I do. As long as the app is on my phone it means I will get a ‘Be My Eyes‘ call if one comes up for me. When a call comes in from someone the app simultaneously notifies lots of people in the Be My Eyes volunteer community and whoever answers it first gets the call.
When that first call came in I was ever so nervous in case I wouldn’t be able to provide the person with the help they required but I did manage to do so and it was such a relief. The thing is you will never know what help someone requires until the call comes in and it really could be anything! Basically the caller can hear you and you can hear the caller but you can also see what the caller’s phone camera is pointing at – they can’t see you. So in the case of my caller’s call she was using a mobile phone to make the call and the camera on that phone was pointing at another iphone which she had placed on the table in front of her. The iphone on the table was one of her old phones and she needed to setup VoiceOver on it so I had to guide her finger to click in the correct places so she could do just that. It took a little while of guiding her until she succesfully pressed all the right things but we got there in the end and she succesfully turned on VoiceOver on the 2nd mobile phone which meant she could then use the phone on her own without needing to see the buttons. .
Wonder what my next call will be about?
Download the app and sign up as a volunteer.
Click here for the Android app