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Liopa - revolutionising the speech recognition market

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by Startacus Admin

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Liopa - The AI startup that's innovating visual speech recognition

liopa logoAnyone who uses speech recognition technology, such as Siri or Alexa, for example, knows that it can be difficult to get the thing to understand what you are saying sometimes. Particularly if you are in a noisy environment. If other people around you are also talking, it may have a hard time identifying what is you and what isn’t.

When it’s another human, they will watch your lips while you talk and use a degree of lip reading to both help isolate the noise that is your words and also fill in any gaps where they didn’t hear what you said. So if people can do that without any lip reading training, shouldn’t an AI be able to?

Belfast-based startup Liopa thinks so.

The Queen’s University Belfast and The Centre for Security Technologies spin-out has created a platform that works alongside any speech recognition engine, such as Siri or Alexa, and combines its lip reading analysis with the speech recognition to provide a far more accurate transcript.

As noise levels increase, speech recognition accuracy degrades exponentially, but when combined with lip reading, accuracy levels stay high - and more importantly, they stay over the threshold required for usable accuracy. All the device in use needs is a camera.

liopa screenThis technology isn’t only good for asking Siri what the weather’s like while you sit in a café. It can be used in a situation such as a meeting to help any automatic transcription not only identify what is being said better, but to also identify who is speaking. It can work alongside transcription software to watch a video and support the transcription with its lip reading.

It can also be used for those without a voice to be able to communicate with people who don’t understand sign language, can’t read lips, etc. Liopa’s own app, SRAVI, allows those without a voice, permanently or temporarily, to communicate through the same lip reading technology, which converts what it reads into speech. SRAVI is currently being trialed in a pilot study with the Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust amid an increased need due to the rise in tracheostomy patients as a result of COVID-19 complications.

Liopa recently placed #3 in Northern Ireland’s Tech 50 list, and in August, the startup announced that it has received significant investment as one of Northern Ireland’s first Future Fund support recipients.

This comes just days after receiving funding from Innovate UK in its “Funding Competition for Business-led Innovation in Response to Global Disruption”, which they were awarded for R&D of SRAVI. In April, this app won them the Most Promising Pilot category of the Leading Healthcare Awards 2020.

Read our lips, keep watching this space. 

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Published on: 16th August 2020

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