Be My Eyes, the mobile app that allows anyone to assist visually impaired people through live video calls, today announced Virtual Volunteer™, the first-ever digital visual assistant powered by OpenAI’s new GPT-4 language model.
The new tool from Be My Eyes integrates OpenAI’s latest generative AI technology, with the goal of providing an unprecedented level of accessibility and power to the 253 million people who are blind or have low vision globally.
“We are entering the next wave of innovation for accessibility technology powered by AI. This new Be My Eyes feature will be transformative in providing people who are blind or have low vision with powerful tools to better navigate physical environments, address everyday needs, and gain more independence,” said Mike Buckley, CEO of Be My Eyes. “We are thrilled to work with OpenAI to further our mission of improving accessibility for the 253 million people who are blind or have low-vision, with safe and accessible applications of generative AI.”
The Virtual Volunteer feature will be integrated into the existing app and contains a dynamic new image-to-text generator powered by GPT-4. Users can send images via the app to an AI-powered Virtual Volunteer, which will answer any question about that image and provide instantaneous, conversational visual assistance for a wide variety of tasks.
What sets the Virtual Volunteer tool apart from other image-to-text technology available today is the context it provides, with highly nuanced explanations and conversational abilities not yet seen in the digital assistant field. For example, if a user sends a picture of the inside of their refrigerator, the Virtual Volunteer will not only be able to correctly identify the items within, but also extrapolate and analyze what can be prepared with those ingredients. The tool can also then offer a number of recipes for those ingredients and send a step-by-step guide to prepare them.
This new feature promises to not only better support the blind and low-vision community through the Be My Eyes app, but it will also offer a way for businesses to better serve their customers by prioritizing accessibility. Be My Eyes plans to begin beta testing this with corporate customers in the coming weeks, and to make it broadly available later this year as part of the company’s Accessible CX™ offering.
Since its founding in 2015, Be My Eyes has worked to connect its 6.3 million volunteers to users to assist them with everyday tasks, and the company’s mission is to make the world more accessible for people who are blind or have low vision.
In the near future, Be My Eyes plans to apply this technology to provide people with powerful tools and capabilities to enrich their virtual assistant experience in complex ways – for example, navigating a train system in an unfamiliar place, traveling in a foreign country where translation support is needed, browsing websites and social media platforms, online shopping, and a host of other scenarios to be discovered in testing.
People who are blind or have low vision can register for the wait list in the iOS app. Just like the existing volunteer service, this tool is free for all blind and low-vision community members using the Be My Eyes app.
About Be My Eyes
Based in Denmark and launched in 2015, Be My Eyes is a global community that connects people who are blind or have low vision with sighted volunteers or company representatives. On the app, volunteers assist blind and low-vision users through a live video connection and work together to tackle challenges and handle a wide range of tasks. With the Specialized Help feature, blind and low-vision users can connect with company representatives for accessible customer support. The app harnesses the power of generosity, technology, and human connection so that people who are blind or have low vision can lead more independent lives. Be My Eyes is accessible in more than 150 countries worldwide and in over 180 languages. The app is free and available for both iOS and Android. Learn more at bemyeyes.com and join us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.
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