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Be My Eyes App Set Sights ‘Virtual Volunteer' Corporate Partnership

The Be My Eyes app seeks to develop its Virtual Volunteer feature through commercial partnerships

The Be My Eyes App as seen on the Apple App Store, Photo Credits: Be My Eyes

Be My Eyes, an app which sees blind and visually impaired people connect with sighted volunteers via video call, has partnered with various companies to launch a trial version of a new ‘Virtual Volunteer' tool.

This ‘Virtual Volunteer’ uses Open AI’s GPT4 technology, allowing users to send images to the AI-powered assistant, receiving answers to any question about that image as well as instant visual assistance for a wide variety of tasks.

The functionality has been in beta release since March, and as announced on May 2, Be My Eyes has sought to expand and utilise its partnerships as part of a Corporate Beta Test.

The CEO of Be My Eyes, Mike Buckley expressed in a press statement that “Working with these amazing brands and the National Federation of the Blind is about two things: first, it’s to ensure the consumer experience is not only excellent, but also solves real-world use cases and needs. Second, it’s about continuing to build this technology by working directly with the blind and low-vision community.”

Hilton, one of the companies involved in the test, seeks to utilise the technology as a means to make the travel experience easier for people with sight loss, providing guidance in areas such as understanding room features.

Proctor and Gamble strives to make it easier for people to use and identify their products, such as by identifying stains on clothing and deciding the best detergent, or finding the best conditioner for an individual’s hair.

Other companies such as Sony and Microsoft seek to make it easier for people with sight loss to make use of consumer electronics more accessible.

Sarah Monaghan, whose brother is fully blind, commented to Breakthrough Press about the application of this technology in a retail environment: “Whenever I take him [my brother] shopping, I’m often answering questions and describing each product. I think this technology might open a door for greater independence in not having to ask for help all the time.”

Regarding a possibility of this technology replacing the need for human volunteers, Olivia Reid, who’s grandmother receives care, as well as family assistance due to cataracts said: “I believe that some people might want the choice to either choose between technology, and having a volunteer to connect with and help them. People like my gran, at her age appreciate that connection.”


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