This South African App Allows Volunteers To Remotely Assist Blind People


This South African app allows volunteers to remotely assist blind people.

The innovative app is called BeSpecular which connects volunteers around the world who want to lend their eyes to the blind. How it works is once the request is submitted, a handful of volunteers, or so-called “sightlings”, receive a notification on their smartphones.

So far the app has around 10,000 subscribers, with a roughly equal split between the visually impaired and volunteers, according to the company, based in Johannesburg, South Africa. The app was created by two women who wanted to create an app that actually changed lives.

It’s similar to dating apps.

The app uses an algorithm to connect the right people, much like a dating app.The requests go out to volunteers of similar age and physical location to the visually impaired. The app sends the request to a number of people at the same time so no one is pressured to respond to the user if they happen to be busy. The apps are likely to be an additional service to friends or already available human assistance, which is still his preference when going shopping, for example.

From Japan to Finland to Mexico, BeSpecular has users in over 50 countries worldwide, according to the company.Next up for BeSpecular is translating the app into other languages and launching a business software — currently being tested by a number of companies in South Africa — that aims to raise awareness of disability in the workplace in Africa, where there is still social stigma around blindness.