Be My Eyes

The iPhone app launched in 2015 called Be My Eyes marks another step in technology increasing accessibility for people with disabilities. Be My Eyes links people who are blind or visually impaired to sighted volunteers through video chat. The volunteer can see through the video chat and answer whatever questions the user has. According to their website, they currently have 35,000 users and over 500,000 volunteers signed up across the world. Users and volunteers can select their language preferences and people are represented from 95 different languages! Check out this article in the Guardian for user testimonies.

The concept of crowdsourcing is not new in libraries, archives and museums. How can our institutions promote increased accessibility and raise awareness for assistive technologies like this one? Additionally, how can we contribute to improve existing technologies? This app is notably only available in iPhones, so that leaves out people who either use the Android platform or who do not have access to a smartphone at all. How can information professionals work to bridge this digital divide and promote universal accessibility? Email mlisprogram@umd.edu with your thoughts!

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