What is Be My Eyes?
Be My Eyes is primarily a volunteer-staffed app that connects blind/low vision individuals seeking visual information with sighted volunteers through a free SmartPhone app that connects app users with volunteers from around the world. These volunteers provide on-demand visual interpretation services/sighted support at the direction of the app user. Please note that Be My Eyes volunteers are just that: volunteers. While volunteers register with the app and have support materials available from Be My Eyes, they do not need to have formal training in order to volunteer with Be My Eyes.
Getting started with Be My Eyes
First, download the Be My Eyes app in the Apple App Store or the Be My Eyes app in the Google Play Store. You just need to enter your name, an email address, and a password to register with Be My Eyes.
Pricing – free!
The Be My Eyes app provides unlimited access to sighted volunteer assistance at no cost. Yes, it’s completely free, and there are no advertisements, in-app purchases, or requests for donations.
Be My Eyes is available anytime, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Not only is it free, there is no limit on the number of minutes used.
New AI (artificial intelligence) powered assistance option (still in Beta testing phase)
In 2023, Be My Eyes announced that it will soon be adding a digital visual assistant powered by OpenAI’s GPT-4, better known as ChatGPT. While initially called “Virtual Volunteer,” this AI option is now known as “Be My AI.”
“Imagine navigating a train system in an unfamiliar place, traveling in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language, browsing websites and social media platforms, online shopping, and a host of other ways we know our community will help us identify – the possibilities are limitless, and we’re just getting started.” From Be My Eyes’ “Introducing Be My AI (formerly Virtual Volunteer) for People who are Blind or Have Low Vision, Powered by OpenAI’s GPT-4” web page.
Currently, Be My AI is in Beta testing and is not available to the general public. Nevertheless, Be My Eyes welcomes individuals to join its waitlist for Be My AI.
While Be My AI will not utilize human volunteers, Be My Eyes support will remain. According to Be My Eyes, “if and when the tool is unable to answer a question, it will automatically offer users the option to be connected via the app to a sighted volunteer for assistance – our volunteer experience isn’t going anywhere.” From the Be My Eyes Virtual Volunteer announcement web page.
All services cost money to operate, and Be My Eyes is no exception. However, instead of pushing in-app purchases or selling user information, Be My Eyes supports itself with premium services for business clients. These services include:
- Corporate Volunteering: For a business’s employees, helping people living with blindness and low vision.
- Specialized Help: Supporting customers and clients who have low vision or who need visual support.
- Be My Eyes for Work: Supporting employees who need visual assistance and make your workplace more accessible and inclusive.
- Be My Eyes Careers: Recruiting and supporting prospective employees who are blind or have low vision.
- Be My Eyes Experiences: On-demand, personalized visual description for events, demos and experiences.
Check out these Be My Eyes resources:
- Blind or Low-vision User web page
- Sighted Volunteer web page
- Be My Eyes Community
Contact the Bridges Helpdesk for More Information
- Our Accessible web form
- Email: Helpdesk@imagemd.org
- Text: Send to: (410) 357-1546
- Voice mail: Call (410) 357-1546, leave a voice mail message, and we will return your call
This unique project is being coordinated through The IMAGE Center of Maryland, a center for independent living in Towson, and it is funded by a grant from the Maryland Department of Education Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.
Updated as of September 1, 2023.