Built Environment Digital Information Review

Navigating the Holidays with Visual Interpreter Apps

A Comparative Review of Aira Explorer, Be My Eyes AI, and Seeing AI from Microsoft

Dear Inclusive Design Community,

Editor’s Note: Generative AI is groundbreaking, but does produce errors often referred to as hallucinations and should not be  relied upon as being error free.

As we immerse ourselves in the festive spirit of the holiday season, it's timely to reflect on the strides made in accessibility and inclusion, especially for individuals who are blind, partially sighted or have challenges understanding visual queues. In this dynamic landscape, technology and human assistance intersect to create innovative solutions and today, we explore the evolving narrative of Aira Explorer, Be My Eyes AI, Seeing AI from Microsoft and the integration of ChatGPT and human assistance.

But first, time to hand out some early presents. Here are the download links for the visual  interpreter apps (Aira Explorer is a paid for service, but does provide 5-minute free access for those wanting to try it out. Be My Eyes AI and Seeing AI are both free):

Visual Interpreter Download Links:

Aira Explorer:

Be My Eyes AI:

Seeing AI from Microsoft:

Aira Explorer:

Elevating Visual Interpretation with Expert Human Touch

For years, Aira has stood as a beacon of support for the blind and low-vision community. Its Visual Interpreters, meticulously trained and certified, offer real-time assistance through a secure and reliable platform. Aira's commitment to accessibility is further evident through partnerships with major companies, educational institutions, and state governments, making it a trusted choice for diverse needs.

Aira's tailored services extend beyond personal assistance, encompassing accommodations for businesses, educational institutions, and state governments. The recent collaboration with the State of Colorado under the "Colorado for All" initiative is a testament to Aira's commitment to breaking barriers in state-operated buildings, colleges, state parks, and digital services.

Be My Eyes AI:

Unleashing the Power of ChatGPT for Global Accessibility

A free service relying on volunteer remote agents, entered a new era with the integration of ChatGPT into its ecosystem. This development opens up new possibilities for visual interpretation, with the ChatGPT API offering additional layers of assistance. Michael Buckley, CEO of Be My Eyes, envisions a future where GPT-4 technology enables users to not only recognize but also analyze and extrapolate information from images, transforming the way blind and low-vision individuals navigate the world.

The volunteer-based model of Be My Eyes, coupled with the introduction of ChatGPT, provides a cost-free alternative with unlimited access. While it may lack the specificity of Aira, the potential for global impact and independence is undeniable.

Seeing AI from Microsoft:

Bridging the Gap with Intelligent Visual Assistance

Microsoft's Seeing AI is a pioneer in intelligent visual assistance, using cloud and AI to transform the visual world into an audible experience. With features like Short Text, Documents, Products, Person, and Scene, Seeing AI empowers users with real-time information about their surroundings. The integration of Scenes adds a layer of spatial awareness, enhancing the overall user experience.

It is also noteworthy, to acknowledge, Microsoft, is a major shareholder in Open AI. The developers of ChatGPT and users will likely note the similarities between Be My Eyes AI and Seeing AI from Microsoft. That said, I do personally prefer the menu interface in Seeing AI Scenes over Be My AI for ease of use.

Choosing the Right Fit for the Holidays and Beyond

As we approach the holiday season, the choice between Aira, Be My Eyes, or Seeing AI depends on individual preferences and specific requirements. Aira's personalized and expert human touch stands out, while Be My Eyes offers a more accessible and cost-free alternative with the power of ChatGPT. Seeing AI, with its intelligent features, provides another dimension to visual interpretation.

The competition is fierce, and the landscape is ever evolving. Users can now take a test drive, experiencing the magic of the holiday season through these visual interpreter apps. Share your experiences with us at email: and stay updated on our website at Gateway Navigation.

Wishing you a joyous holiday season and a happy and prosperous New Year! May these transformative tools continue to make the world more accessible and inclusive  for everyone, regardless of visual abilities.



David Brun / Gateway Navigation / A Certified Buy Social Supplier

Visual Interpreter Download Links:

Aira Explorer:

Be My Eyes AI:

Seeing AI from Microsoft:

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