#IMakeApps

Hans Jørgen's #IMakeApps story


 

Name: Hans Jørgen Wiberg

Profile: Vintage chair restorer

Role: Co-founder & Inventor

App: Be My Eyes

Country: Denmark


 

Hans has been helping his wife run a successful chair upholstering business for over 20 years. He also used to volunteer for visually impaired associations and is visually impaired himself.

Be My Eyes is an app connecting visually impaired people with sighted volunteers. Download Be My Eyes on Google Play. 


 

When and why did you get involved with technology?

At 25 I was diagnosed with an eye disease, so I gave up my plans to take over my family’s farm. Instead, I studied for a degree in philosophy and went on to restore chairs. So I’m not a techie and never thought I’d become one. I then came up with the idea for Be My Eyes in 2012 and that was the beginning of my tech journey as more than a smartphone user.

How did you come up with the idea for the app?

I am going blind myself and was also working for the Danish blind association as a consultant. Some of my blind friends were reaching out to friends and family via video calling services to ask for visual assistance but they always had to decide exactly who to call - this sparked the idea of Be My Eyes and a community of volunteers who could step in.

How did you kick off the project?

I took the idea to an event looking for support to turn it into a reality. I was lucky enough to be able to form a team of interested people; they have been working with me on this project ever since. The first year we spent raising the money, which allowed me to start hiring professional coders to build the app. 

What has been your experience with Android & Google Play?

Since we launched our Android version in October 2017 we have had some very interesting numbers in places like Brazil and India and we consider Android a key factor in our goal of reaching the 90% of blind people living in low income settings. It was also great to win the Google Play Award to the best accessibility app earlier this year.

How has your app business grown since you started?

Be My Eyes is my only app. It has grown enormously since launch and it seems to be picking up speed over the last few months where we have increased + 20%. Our network of over 1 million sighted volunteers now help visually impaired people in over 150 countries and over 180 languages.  


 

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