Samsan Tech is real—but not really. The app brainchild of K-drama “Start-Up’s” protagonists for visually-impaired users, NoonGil, is actually a real thing, only it’s called “Be My Eyes.”
Made by Hans Jorgen Wiberg in 2015, Be My Eyes pretty much follows the same concept as NoonGil, which is to assist the visually impaired in everyday tasks. In the “Start-Up” ’verse, you can point a phone’s camera at an object and it’ll automatically label it, thanks to image recognition tech.
Be My Eyes, however, is a lil’ different from the fictional NoonGil. Instead of relying on AI, the real app counts on sighted volunteers, connecting them to visually-impaired users through video call. Volunteers can help with tasks like checking expiry dates, reading instructions or navigating surroundings.
As of writing, there are currently 277,228 visually-impaired users on the app, while volunteers are at a whopping 4,451,000 and counting. According to reviews, this is the main flaw of Be My Eyes—volunteers outnumber low-vision users, so there may be a waiting line in case you want to help. (It’s a flaw I can take, TBH.)
“The fact that we have so many volunteers enables us to have a really fast response time. I see it as a good problem,” says Be My Eyes COO Alexander Hauerslev Jensen. “It takes a few minutes to make a big impact on someone else’s life. This is a combination of technology and human generosity.”
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Photos from “Start-Up” and Be My Eyes