Northern Ireland-based Liopa, which offers automated lip reading technology, has been awarded a £40m package from the UK government.
The grant has been given to help the startup bolster its technology and research, as well as survive through the pandemic.
One of the main areas the capital will be used is for the development of its SRAVI application. This is a communication aid for patients who cannot speak, such as those with a tracheostomy as a result of Covid-19 complications.
SARVI is an automated lip reading service in a mobile phone app, to enable healthcare workers, friends and family communicate with those who cannot use their voice.
In a statement from the UK government said, “The competition aims to fast-track the development of innovations borne out of the Coronavirus crisis while supporting the UK’s next generation of cutting-edge start-ups – helping to build the businesses of tomorrow and propel their future prosperity.”
Liopa is an AI-powered lip reading technology and is used for three main areas. These include improving the accuracy of voice assistants like Siri and Alexa, helping those who have lost their voice to communicate and automating the transcription of audio.
Having an automated transcription of audio helps companies that need to comply with regulations such as Dodd-Frank, MiFID II and GDPR where an accurate report of discussions is needed.
The technology can also be used in onboarding, with the technology able to assess the liveness of a photograph or video.
Liopa CEO Liam McQuillan said, “The further funding award from Innovate UK will make it possible for us to widen the scope of our R&D efforts for SRAVI. Eventually it will mean we can roll SRAVI out to more types of patients, such as those who have suffered paralysis or strokes. We are dedicated to helping bring a voice to the voiceless.”
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