Could Smartphone App Replace Seeing Eye Dogs for the Visually Impaired?
Eyebridge, a first-of-its-kind mobile app from EyeBridge Limited, will provide 27/4 on-demand remote visual assistance for people who are blind or otherwise visually impaired. Within 30 seconds of opening the Eyebridge app, a live operator connects to the customer and his or her smartphone's rear-facing camera, ready to provide video assistance with everything from navigation and product identification to written word interpretation or device operation. As a blind Eyebridge beta tester commented: "I travel a lot, and locating power outlets or figuring out climate controls in hotel rooms is often tricky, and Eyebridge could be a very useful solution."
Slated for a public launch in October, Guy Curlewis, CEO of EyeBridge, is excited at the level of freedom that the Eyebridge app will provide to those people that have some form of visual impairment. Curlewis had the following remarks: "The response to the Eyebridge app from the visually impaired communities has been extremely positive." Curlewis continues: "Of course, no technology can replace the constant companionship of a Seeing Eye canine, but until a dog can read your mail or help you figure out a new remote control, Eyebridge will play an important role."
The Eyebridge app in development will be available on both Android and iOS platforms and connect via Wi-Fi and mobile networks. Individual customers and corporate employers will have a variety of subscription plans from which to choose, starting from $29 per month for 60 minutes of remote visual assistance. Eyebridge technology is also forward-thinking: The app is fully compatible with Google Glass, and will no doubt be adaptable to further advancements in wearable devices.
Curlewis states: "One of the most significant technologies behind the Eyebridge app is our ability to simultaneously queue and route thousands of quality mobile video calls across different types of connections. Whereas systems to stack and direct voice calls are plentiful, we found nothing that could do the same for mobile video and ended up developing our own proprietary solution."
EyeBridge Limited is currently welcoming investors who wish to purchase equity in the company via a crowd funding campaign listed on Crowdcube. The company has reached 25 percent of its target in the first few days, and with more a month remaining in the campaign, it presents an interesting investment opportunity for those who understand the platform's potential: Around the world, the estimated number of prospective visually impaired Eyebridge customers tops 280 million, among which there is a large percentage of people in the developing world where access to smartphones and reliable mobile networks is growing at a breakneck pace. Curlewis commented: "As long as we reach our current investment target on Crowdcube, we will launch the full service in October to a global audience."
According to Curlewis, the Eyebridge market is set to include not only individuals, but also enterprise clients with policies of employing people with visual impairments. Another sector that Eyebridge aims to target is businesses that aim to better serve their blind clients. States Curlewis: "We are beta testing Eyebridge with a firm of attorneys who will provide their visually impaired clients with free remote video connections via the Eyebridge app. Using Eyebridge to connect to their attorney should significantly reduce the need for a client to physically send or scan documents or travel to the attorney's office and in turn help reduce costs and speed up legal transactions."
In the near future, the Eyebridge platform is expected to serve as a model for applications designed for sighted people as well. For instance, practical usage scenarios are conceivable in the healthcare industry for remote diagnoses and telehealth, in the government sector for translation services, and in the insurance industry to facilitate on-site inspections and claims.
Source: Eyebridge, myeyebridge.com