My experience with the Be My Eyes app

iOS & iPadOS

I'm a bit late to the party, but I just used the Be My Eyes app for the very first time, and I'm very glad I did! I had actually gotten it right when the app came out, but hadn't needed to use it until just a bit ago. I own a Windows 7 64-bit pc, and for whatever reason, it locked up, and it wouldn't reboot. It kept coming to an error screen and I didn't know what to do. I have enough vision that I can tell it was an error message, because the background color of the screen was different than the screen I'm used to. So, what to do? No sighted help was I tried rebooting a few times, still no luck. Can you guys see where this is going? Sure you can. Then, it hit me...give the Be My Eyes app a try. I had had it for quite a while and if there was ever a need to use it, now was the time. So a few short seconds after connecting to the first available helper, I was connected to a dude in Turkey of all places. I explained the issue, and with my help we were able to determine that the pc had locked up, but it could restore from a previous restore point. So, I pressed the enter key, and the restore process started. So we chatted away for a couple minutes, taking a look every so often at the process. A couple minutes later, the machine rebooted, Windows 7 came up just fine, and I'm using the very pc that had locked up a bit ago to write this post. Believe me, I was greatful, and let the guy I spoke to know, for sure. So, if you're reading this, and have doubts about the app, this is my way of encouraging you to go get it. I know there's a certain segment of the blind population that is dead set against asking for help, and believe me, I fully understand it. I've always had a bit of trouble asking for help. But I didn't see any other way of getting help, because there isn't a whole lot of sighted help in the area, so I'm so thankful to the Be My Eyes app. Trust me, it saved the day for me!



Submitted by sockhopsinger on Tuesday, March 24, 2015

I have only used it once to get someone to help me identify a bottle of wine when all other scanning options failed. I'm not sure where the girl I was talking to was from, but she was able to help me quickly. I cannot reiterate enough what a superb app idea this is.

Submitted by Toonhead on Tuesday, March 24, 2015

I'm encouraging all my sighted friends to get it, because it's just a cool thing to do. I'm thinking of posting this very story to Facebook. I follow a bunch of sighted folks, so maybe they'll see the story, and grab the app.

Submitted by Brooke on Tuesday, March 24, 2015

I have the app, but so far, haven't found a reason to use it yet. The main reason I got it, though, is because my Windows 7 desktop is prone to locking up, so it's good to know the app can be helpful in that sort of situation. My sighted sister is a volunteer, but I haven't asked her if she's taken a call yet.

Submitted by Toonhead on Wednesday, March 25, 2015

I posted about this experience on Facebook, and received a whole lot of positive feedback. A few people I went to school with were so impressed that they got the app immediately after reading the story. To me, the more people get this app the better.

Submitted by Krister Ekstrom on Wednesday, March 25, 2015

I am very skeptic to using the B my eyes app for many reasons. The few times i've tried it, i either got help in a forreign language, (English) nor didn't get any help at all. Now i'm from Sweden, and even if i could understand and speak English which i can i am not sure if i would rely upon the Be my eyes app for reading packets of food where the ingredients or other info is in Swedish, to me that would sound a bit ahem awquard, but that's just me. Yes i know you can set preferences, but how much are they really honored? Do the volonteers actually know or see what languages i speak? And then there's another thing, namely abuse. How many have actually gotten abused through the app or have had abuse like situations? Well, that's my thoughts about the be my eyes app, and maybe i'm totally wrong but there you have it.

I fully understand people being nervous about asking for help, but in a situation like I had yesterday with my pc, I have no earthly idea how I would've gotten help any other way. The one thing I would absolutely not use the app for is to read the label on medicine or any other drugs. I'm pretty certain that the people on the other end would be honest, but you can never tell for sure. So, I do think this app is fine for reading labels on food, pc screens with error messages, shirts or other clothes that you want to make sure that are matching (if you don't have braille labels on them that is), but you get the idea. I do think they've tried to fine-tune the app so that you get people answering in your own language, in the preferences you can specificly tell them what language you speak, and they can get you to someone who speaks your language. The guy I spoke to yesterday was from Turkey, but his English was perfect, and I had absolutely no trouble understanding him. I know at the very beginning there were concerns about people receiving help from folks who didn't speak their language, but that's been fine-tuned. I'm a big believer in Be My Eyes after using it.

Submitted by charles on Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Yep, you rained on the parade. Seems like there is always someone who will come up with the warning of being abused when using such an app. ask you, "Have you been abused by any of the volunteer helpers when you've used this app?" If not, why bring it up? As for the language issue, I understand that the majority of volunteers probably speak English, and don't have a problem with it, although it's probably due to the fact that English is the only language I know.

I have had nothing but good results with the app when I have used it, which have been on rare occasions. I don't bring up any negative aspects of any app that I haven't personally experienced. When using this or any app, to avoid abuse, just use common sense. For example, never show your credit card or stuff like that. If you haven't experienced problems, don't even mention possible issues that might bother others.

Submitted by Hubert on Thursday, March 26, 2015

First of all, I do like this app, I think it's a good app for the people thatt really need it and that could really benefit from it. But, I do understand the possibility of abuse. No offence to people that volunteer to help out in this project, I'm sure they are decent people and have no intention to helm anyone. But it would be good to know how these volunteers are chosen and if any checks are carried out.

Submitted by flcomputergeek on Thursday, March 26, 2015

I downloaded Be My Eyes about a month or so ago in case I needed it for anything... My first attempt at that time was to try to obtain expiration dates on bottled yogurt smoothies. The sighted helper and I were unsuccessful, but I'll chalk that up to my poor camera skills given my cerebral palsy. Yesterday I needed to distinguish between two different-sized but same-shaped bottles of the same brand to determine which was the shampoo. Instead of holding the object in my hand and trying to move it in relation to the camera, this time I put the bottle on the counter and moved the camera. It took the sighted volunteer about 15 seconds to identify the shampoo, and I learned that it was a two-in-one shampoo/conditioner. I was impressed with how quick and easy it was. I mentioned it to my sighted sister whose immediate response was "That's awesome!!! Signing up now." As others have said on this thread, if you use common sense by not showing personally identifiable or confidential information, you shouldn't need to be too concerned about abuse.

Submitted by Jen on Thursday, March 26, 2015

I'm glad to read this post, because I'm not sure I ever would have thought of using it for an error on a computer screen.
I know you can match clothes, read labels, etc., but has anyone else had unique situations where this app came in handy? Just curious.

Submitted by Steve Holmes on Friday, March 27, 2015

The last time I used the Be My Eyes app, I did a pretty cool thing. I needed to make a payment using my credit card on an inaccessible point of sale terminal for my apartment's laundry facility. The volunteer was able to read the screen after I moved the phone around a bit and he continued on with me after verifying my laundry card's remaining balance and my making a credit card payment on it. Knowing basically how this machine works, I felt confident that no personal information was compromised but I was able to add money to my laundry card with no sighted people around - other than the guy on the phone with me. I generally don't need to use this app very often but it really does come in handy when I do.

Obviously, one should use common sense when choosing activities to do with BeMyh Eyes.

Submitted by LaBoheme on Tuesday, April 28, 2015

is the front camera also recording? if you know the answer (and not just assume it), please let us know. i'm fine with the front camera on, but i just need to know it is.

Submitted by Be My Eyes on Tuesday, June 16, 2015

This is Ida Marie from the Be My Eyes team. I am happy to hear, that Be My Eyes helped you out, when your computer locked up! It is amazing for us to hear about all the different ways Be My Eyes is used. Also great to hear, that you shared your story - and got positive feedback. When we created the app, we didn't imagine all the different ways it can be used.

This is Ida Marie from the Be My Eyes team. A lot of people use Be My Eyes to read labels, match socks or set the oven. But we have also heard of more creative ways of using it. For instance we just received an email with this story (I have asked the guy, and it is ok, that we use his story):

Friday afternoon My girlfriend was driving us home after a busy day of work followed by errands. suddenly she said. “accident.” She came to a quick stop and I heard her shout “Anyone hurt?” a voice responded “Yes, we are waiting for a ambulance.” My girlfriend replied” I’m a EMT.” and she quick turned off the road, grabbed her emergency bag and ran to help. I sat in the car with my guide dog at my feet. I was wondering what was happening around me. suddenly I remembered the Be My Eyes app. I never used it on cellular before but I decided to try. My first attempt went in quickly and then was disconnected. I tried again and was connected again and the connection held. A bright positive sounded woman said “hello.” I explained my situation while pointing the phone outside the window. My new helper quickly picked up what was needed . She described the scene around me. As I heard emergency vehicles coming she was able to describe their arrival and who was around me. She described the accident scene and this info informed me that though it was serious no one was in immediate danger. My helper then suggested I raise the phone up through the sun roof. this gave her better views with the camera. By the time my girlfriend returned I was having a calming conversation with my helper between updates on the busy scene around me. I knew for example our car would not be moving anytime soon as a ambulance was parked directly behind me.
this was my helper’s first call and I’m sure she now has a strong understanding of the potential value of this amazing app. I’m still learning how important, versatile, and life changing the Be My Eyes app is for me and other blind individuals.

Submitted by Be My Eyes on Tuesday, June 16, 2015

In reply to by LaBoheme

This is Ida Marie from the Be My Eyes team. I just want to let you know, that the front camera is not recording. I hope you will enjoy using Be My Eyes. Kind regards - Ida Marie Piper

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