A blind man who narrowly escaped death when he was gunned down in the Philippines has developed software he hopes will offer life-changing independence to blind people.
In 2003 Marx Melencio was shot in the chest and the head in an apparently random attack while he was buying fried rice with his wife.
The first bullet hit him 3mm from his heart. The second missed his brain by 2mm but singed his optic nerve, rendering him blind.
Marx,14 years later,runs a successful IT company.
He’s determined to develop guided “vision” for blind people, through the use of artificial intelligence and smart glasses,he has also developed an app (SmartVision) that use the Microsoft platform, known as Cognitive Services, which translate the objects that appear in a video and translate that information into text.
Marx has developed a computer code that can turn that text into spoken audio.
To raise money he as created a crowdfunding website to make the software available in smart glasses,hoping to raise $25,000 (£20,000) and also to make the app available on Android and Apple operating platforms.
Ar first Marx discovered a computer school for blind people operating in Manila which was offering a medical transcription course that taught how to transcribe the audio notes kept by doctors.
Workig as a web developer he managed to pay that course which was initially too expensive for him.
“At that time, I didn’t know how to make websites but I told them I did. They gave me a week before I started. In that week, I learned how to develop websites and applications,” he says.
Soon realised he could start a business of his own.
In 2005, he set up Grayscale, a company, which founders were himself, his wife Cherry, and two friends,which offers web design, software development and search engine optimisation for overseas companies and has 200 employees
“When I heard about Tesla, I thought, if artificial intelligence can be used to detect certain objects [on the road], then it will be fairly straightforward to convert what it detects into human readable text and for that text to be converted in to spoken audio,”
he says,since then, Marx has been working to realise that aim.
Below, we leave the link of an interview with Marx, who gives more details about his story and his project, hoping that it can inspire you and make you understand that nothing is impossible when you have a lot of determination and passion