Be My Eyes is a new mobile app that aims to help blind people by connecting them with seeing-eye volunteers.
Developed by Danish software studio Robocat for the nonprofit that shares the app's name, Be My Eyes lets a blind person ask for visual aid from a network of volunteers. Through the app blind people can connect with a sighted partner by pointing their cellphone camera at an object, which displays on the volunteer's camera. The sighted volunteer can then tell the blind person what it is that they're pointing at.
Be My Eyes is a successor to apps such as SoundAMP, which turns a person's phone into a makeshift hearing aid. The concept is to leverage a mobile device's features to make life easier for people with disabilities.
Surprisingly, the biggest challenge the app faces isn't finding an ample volunteer base, but getting it to the people who need it most. Currently, the Be My Eyes network boasts more than 14,600 sighted volunteers, but only 1,300 blind users of an estimated 39 million blind people worldwide.
Another obstacle to accessibility is that the app is only available for iPhones, which excludes roughly 84 percent of mobile users worldwide.
Fidel Martinez is an editor at Fusion.net. He's also a Texas native and a lifelong El Tri fan.