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January 28, 2015

App connects blind with sighted volunteers

"Be My Eyes" app connects blind people with sighted volunteers via live video chat

A new app is lending the gift of sight to the blind by connecting the visually impaired with sighted volunteers via smartphone video chat.

The app, Be My Eyes, was created by a nonprofit startup in Denmark and dreamed up by 50-year-old Hans Jorgen Wiberg, a Danish furniture craftsman who began losing his vision at age 25.

The app is free and currently available for iPhone 4S and newer. To date, the network has helped more than 20,000 people, according to its website.

The way it works is both visually impaired and sighted people join the volunteer network, and then when one of the blind members needs assisting seeing, they reach out to sighted volunteers to find someone available to help.

Be My Eyes can help tasks, like reading labels or finding the right can on a shelf, become easier, reports Lucy Vernasco of The Daily Beast.

The app is available to people worldwide and is backed by the Danish Blind Society, the Velux Foundations and Danish software studio Robocat.