The National Federation of the Blind said last year that Apple has “done more for accessibility than any other company,” and with the help of a new app, iPhone and iPad owners can take things even further. Be My Eyes is an app that allows blind people to request remote help from a sighted person when needed.

Requests for help might range from checking the expiry date on a container of milk to looking at an airport departure board for a gate number … 

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Sighted people who are willing to lend a hand install the app and will then get alerts when help is requested.

As soon as the first sighted user accepts the request for help a live audio-video connection will be set up between the two and the sighted user can tell the blind person what she sees when the blind user points his phone at something using the rear-facing camera.

If you’re too busy to help, it’s no problem: the request is automatically rotated through sighted users until one of them accepts. At the time of writing, the app had already assisted blind people on almost 12,000 occasions.

Tim Cook has spoken eloquently on the priority he gives to equality and accessibility, and went as far as telling a lobbying group for investors to “get out of this stock” if it considered environmental concerns and making Apple devices accessible to disabled users to be a waste of money.

Both blind and sighted users can download the free app from iTunes.

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