People with disabilities have been left out of the loop as technology advances. While certain innovations cater specifically to disabilities, and tools such as canes, guide dogs, Braille, audio descriptions, and smartphones exist to make the lives of the disabled easier, human kindness could be the key to helping disabled people overcome even more barriers.
Danish furniture craftsman, 50-year-old Hans Jørgen Wiberg began losing his sight at the age of 25. He found that everyday tasks such as choosing a can of food at the grocery store or checking the expiry date on a carton of milk became a daily struggle. He found that what he needed was the assistance of someone with full vision. To achieve this, Wiberg created Be My Eyes, a non-profit app that connects the visually impaired with a volunteer helper through video-call.
The app allows a person in need of help to connect to a helper within minutes. It evaluates both the user and the volunteer’s experience after the call to ensure that those who don’t get along are not paired up again and those who abuse the app are swiftly banned.
Within 12 days of its launch, 99 000 sighted volunteers and 8 000 blind people had signed up to use the app, which is currently only available on iOS. An Android version is under development.
“It is flexible, takes only a few minutes to help and the app is, therefore, a good opportunity for the busy, modern individual with the energy to help others,” Wiberg.