Blind citizens of WA are saying a new app is helping them with their everyday lives, and igniting conversation around the disability.
Released in 2015, Be My Eyes is a free mobile app that assists the lives of blind and low-sighted people around the world, providing them with a new pair of virtual eyes.
The app is designed around the use of a video call, where blind and low-sighted individuals are connected with their sighted volunteer counterparts, essentially acting as their eyes, and helping them with everyday tasks.
Grace King has been blind since birth, and says the app has had a significant impact on her life.
“It has definitely raised awareness and offered people who can see, a glimpse into the lives of people who are blind.” she says.
The app has almost five million volunteers in over 150 different countries.
Savanna Kileff has been a Be My Eyes volunteer for almost one year, and has answered a number of calls, helping out blind app users from around the world.
“I actually first found out about the app on TikTok, and thought it was so amazing that I went straight to the app store to download it” she says.
“I remember waiting patiently for my first call and when my phone finally rung, it was someone in their house, who was struggling to figure out the flavour of their cider bottles.”
She says she felt extremely helpful after picking up that first phone call, and says so many of us take vision for granted.
“If you have a phone, time, and two working eyes – why not do it!”
Greg Madson is a senior consultant at GAM Industries, and has been helping create assistive disability technology for over eight years.
He says the Be My Eyes app has been a huge step in the right direction.
“When you’re blind, you’re home and you’re by yourself, Be My Eyes acts as a voice of reason for so many blind people around the world.
“I have been working with vision impairment technology since 2013, and the app has definitely worked to create a more inclusive and accessible environment,” he says.
“Creating easy-to-use and adaptive technology for visually impaired people is so important in our new-age tech-world, so this app is definitely helping to raise the standard for disability communication.”