Belfast lip-reading start-up raises $1m

Richard McConnell and Liam McQuillan, Liopa, with Hal Wilson, Techstart NI



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17 April 2018 | 0

Liopa, a Belfast-based start-up the company has secured $1 million in funding – led by Techstart NI, and Qubis – which will enable it to commercialise the LipRead platform.

Developed following 10 years of research by the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) at Queen’s University, LipRead uses the camera on a smartphone or tablet to analyse lip movement and decipher words and phrases.

The technology is poised to be the world’s first Visual Speech Recognition (VSR) platform to come to market.

New backers include the AI Seed Fund and co-Fund NI which is managed by Clarendon Fund Managers.

LipRead’s primary function will be improving the accuracy of commonly used voice-driven assistants (such as Siri, Cortana or Alexa) and voice activated applications in noisy environments such as vehicles, offices & factories.

Other potential uses of the lip-reading technology, which will be multi-lingual, include hearing aids with automatic subtitling; word/phrase search in uploaded video;h Human-robotic interaction; and auentication fraud detection.

Liopa is led by seasoned entrepreneurs Liam McQuillan and Richard McConnell. Together they have been involved in the creation of several indigenous NI tech start-up companies that have successfully developed software products for the worldwide market and have achieved substantial exit values.

Dr Darryl Stewart and Dr Fabian Campbell-West are also part of the Liopa team and have spearheaded the research behind LipRead.

Hal Wilson of Techstart NI said: “Liopa brings together great technology, a strong team and an exciting market opportunity This latest funding round marks a significant step forward and will support the team’s plans to bring the LipRead technology to market.”

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