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Queen’s U start-up crowdfunds to advance its lip reading technology


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: April 10th, 2019

A start-up from Queen’s University in Belfast has completed a successful round of seed funding to advance a technology that can decipher speech from the movement of a user’s lips.

Liopa raised two and a half times its times its target amount in just four weeks on the crowdfunding platform SyndicateRoom, with strong backing from a number of angel investors and the Fund Twenty8 EIS start-up fund.

Based on more than 10 years of research in the field of speech and image processing at Queen’s University, Liopa’s technology LipRead analyzes lip movement captured on camera to determine what the user is saying. Its developers say it can improve the accuracy of popular voice driven applications such as Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa. It can also be used to prevent security issues in facial recognition systems.

Liam McQuillan, CEO of Liopa, comments on the start-up’s recent crowdfunding round: “This investment will allow us to grow our engineering capability. We’ll be able to accelerate the exciting developments we have planned in our roadmap and protect our valuable IP.”

SyndicateRoom co-founder Tom Britton says, “The team behind Liopa has spent a combined 50-plus man years researching or developing the technology. The applications for their platform are wide ranging, everything from helping law enforcement decipher what’ been said on CCTV footage to giving those who have lost their ability to vocalize a new way to easily communicate. We’re delighted to play a role in such an innovative technology that is applying machine learning for an ultimate good.”

Since its launch in September 2013, the SyndicateRoom online investment platform has helped 170 early-stage UK businesses secure more than £215 million in funding through its investor-led equity crowdfunding model.

Source: The Irish News

Posted under: Tech Transfer e-News

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