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Lip reading tech company hits treble its original six-figure funding target


Developments: CEO Liam McQuillan

Developments: CEO Liam McQuillan

Developments: CEO Liam McQuillan

A Belfast company behind lip reading technology designed for camera phones has announced a successful six-figure fundraising campaign.

Liopa uses the front camera on a phone to decipher speech from lip movements using artificial intelligence software.

Founded in 2015, the company emerged out of speech and image processing research started at Queen's University's Centre for Secure IT (CSIT) in the Titanic Quarter.

The tech start-up said interest in its developments resulted in it raising three times its funding target inside a four-week period.

The company has not disclosed the total raised on the SyndicateRoom crowdfunding website, but confirmed it was in the six figures.

The backing has come from a number of so-called angel investors and the Fund Twenty8.

Liopa's primary focus is improving the accuracy of voice driven applications such as Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa.

The firm said its technology can determine speech by analysing the movement of a user's lips as they speak into a camera. The technology can also be used to prevent "spoofing" and security issues in facial recognition systems.

Chief executive Liam McQuillan said the investment will allow Liopa to grow its engineering capability and AI talent.

"We'll be able to accelerate the exciting developments we have planned in our roadmap, and protect our valuable intellectual property," he added.

SyndicateRoom co-founder Tom Britton said: "It's no wonder the technology being developed by Liopa is so incredible. The team behind it have 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's been said on CCTV footage to giving those who have lost their ability to vocalise a new way to easily communicate."

Belfast Telegraph