A change for good could come from anywhere. At least that’s what Hans Jorgen Wiberg believes in.
His simple idea comprises of enabling blind people navigate their way through simple tasks with the aid of volunteers who could guide them by way of instructions via video conferencing on the phone. Take for instance the simple act of checking out whether a can of condensed milk stored in your kitchen cabinet is within its use by date. In the absence of Braille lettering, it would be next to impossible for a visually challenged man to comprehend that data.
Enter – Be My Eyes, which could be summed up as a crowdsourced or rather outsourced field of vision provided by a live volunteer who can respond to one’s need for help. Think aggregation but in the sphere of social goodness and volunteering for the visually impaired. Once a volunteer is matched with an aid seeker, it’s just the matter of a video call and the volunteer can help him or her do everything from locate the nearby ATM to read the contents of a cook book that he or she needs help with, or even check out the readings on an electronic device – the possibilities are limitless.
Wiberg believes blind people ever so often need a pair of eyes. And the high point of the app is that one doesn’t need to dedicate a certain number of hours or extended durations to volunteer their services. Even those on the go, waiting at the bus terminal or a supermarket line, can pitch in with their services to help blind folks live a more inclusive life. Wiberg calls this phenomenon the micro volunteering age. We can only hope that the tribe of such rockstars keeps on flourishing, as we need more of such changemakers, to help make our world more inclusive.
SYNOPSIS: 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. Be My Eyes may have solved a problem that could make life a bit easier for blind people all over the world and may have made a tiny revolution in the world of volunteering.
NOTEWORTHY: Hans Jorgen Wiberg is visually impaired and got the idea of a volunteer video service for the blind using the cameras in smartphones. He is trained in philosophy and works as a craftsman but is an idea-starter with a deep interest in society, arts & technology, with focus on access for all no matter their handicap. He hopes to rethink traditional volunteering and provide meaningful and much needed help for the blind.