- Royal Preston Hospital has now licensed SRAVI app for use across inpatient units
- Innovate UK funding helped Liopa fast-track the innovation to market
- This is the first known sale of AI lipreading technology in the healthcare market
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND – 10 November 2021 – Liopa today announced the first commercial sale of its healthcare lipreading application, SRAVI. The app was conceptualized just three years ago, in a partnership between Liopa, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, and Queen’s University Belfast. Following a successful development period, SRAVI has now been licensed for use at the Royal Preston Hospital.
SRAVI brings a voice to the voiceless, by using AI algorithms to decipher speech from lip movements. Patients simply need to mouth words (from a predefined phrase list) into their smartphone’s camera, and SRAVI app will read out what they are trying to say. The app was evaluated throughout 2019 – 2021 in the Critical Care department at Royal Preston Hospital, led by Consultant in Critical Care and Anaesthesia, Dr Shondipon Laha. This new commercial agreement will enable all hospital staff (including doctors, nurses and therapists) to download the app and use it with patients as much as they wish.
Dr Laha said: “The focus is very much on rehabilitation for hospital in-patients, helping to improve their health outcomes, while giving them a crucial tool to communicate with their caregivers. In critical care, we are always trying to lipread our patients – which is frustrating for hospital staff as well as patients. To communicate is a basic human need. This became the origin of the SRAVI concept.”
Development of SRAVI was funded, in part, by two Innovate UK projects – the Digital Health Technology Catalyst in 2019 and the Business-led Innovation in Response to Global Disruption in 2020. This second financial award was granted to Liopa because Covid patients were amongst those benefitting from using the SRAVI app in Critical Care unit. The Covid-19 Pandemic has resulted in thousands more patients being given tracheostomies as breathing tubes. These patients cannot pass air over their vocal cords, rendering them “voiceless.”
“We are proud to have achieved commercial readiness in record time,” said Liam McQuillan, CEO of Liopa. “To go from concept, to sale, in three years, is very rare in the healthcare setting. We now want to prove that SRAVI can help people with many medical conditions – stroke, trauma, and paralysis amongst them – and we’re in a position to roll SRAVI out to more hospitals.”
Throughout the investigation into the app’s usefulness, it was proven that SRAVI reads lips with up to 95% accuracy. Further clinical evidence can be found at www.sravi.ai/evidence.html.
Dr. Laha went on: “It’s our wish that this demonstrates that UK companies can work with NHS organisations to develop new healthcare innovation at record pace – something that’s greatly needed in our medical community. The UK is uniquely positioned on the global stage to commit to rapid development of new healthcare innovations.”
Notes to Editors
About Liopa’s SRAVI application:
SRAVI brings a voice to the voiceless through a mobile phone-based lipreading app. Find out more at www.sravi.ai.
Liopa is one of the world’s only startups focused on automated lip reading, using deep learning techniques. Based in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Liopa has been borne out of PhD research at Queen’s University Belfast. Find out more at www.liopa.ai.
About Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust:
Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust provides district general hospital services to a local community of 390,000, and specialist services to 1.5m across Lancashire and South Cumbria. Services are provided from Royal Preston Hospital, Chorley and South Ribble Hospital and the Specialist Mobility and Rehabilitation Centre, as well as a wide range of services in community settings and at other hospitals in the region. Find out more at www.lancsteachinghospitals.nhs.uk
About Innovate UK:
Marketing Manager, Liopa
+44 (0)745 609 4649
 Further information about the Innovate UK projects: The first project (Digital Health Technology Catalyst) enabled Liopa to conduct the development of a data capture app. The project entailed capturing patient data, using it to develop a deep neural net-based recognition system, and measuring the accuracy of recognition. Queen’s University Belfast was a critical partner in this project. In the second project (Business-led Innovation in Response to Global Disruption) Liopa developed the SRAVI App, which allowed the system to be evaluated by medical staff with patients in the critical care environment. Liopa optimised the accuracy of the recognition capability and the usability of the mobile app.
Other funders of Liopa’s technology include: TechStart NI, Invest Northern Ireland, QUBIS, AI Seed and Syndicate Room.