Liopa named Best Speech and Image Processing Research Organisation Award in UK

Liopa was recently nominated for the Global Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Awards 2022. 

We’re delighted to announce that we were awarded the Best Speech and Image Processing Research Organisation for the UK.

Thanks so much to the organisers, Global Health and Pharma, for this recognition!


About Liopa’s automated lip-reading technology:


We are Liopa. We were incorporated in 2015 to commercialise more than 15 years of PhD research at QUB in the field of speech and image processing. Using this deep knowledge, we developed an automated lipreading solution. Our technology – rooted in machine learning and AI – can decipher what a person is saying from their lip movements alone.

Liopa is the first company to release commercially available VSR (Visual Speech Recognition) technology, with the first application being our SRAVI app (

SRAVI is a simple lipreading application that requires just a smartphone. It is bringing a voice to the voiceless.

With SRAVI, we help patients who have lost the ability to speak, to communicate with their loved ones & carers. SRAVI is deployed onto a smartphone, and when pointed towards the patient, the app analyses their lip movements to decipher what they are trying to say.  SRAVI is being trialled in Intensive Care units within the NHS, and it has been commercially deployed at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

Our lipreading technology can also be used in a range of other applications, including keyword spotting, active speaker detection, and silent communication – more info on these R&D apps can be found at

Liopa named Best Speech and Image Processing Research Organisation Award in UK 1

How can lip-reading help ICU patients in hospital?


Our SRAVI app helps the most unwell patients in ICU by lipreading them.

SRAVI stands in contrast to complex, traditional communication solutions like eye gaze tracking. These systems are very expensive for the patient, and they require specialised equipment.

To use these complex systems, patients need to be relatively well.

In contrast, SRAVI is “ultra-easy” – and here’s why:

  • Users can be up and running in seconds
  • You simply aim a smartphone camera at the person, and it reads their lips from a defined set of phrases
  • They can communicate with family members, doctors and nurses instantly, with basic but essential phrases like “I’m hungry. I need the toilet.”

Many conditions might render patients voiceless – tracheostomies being one.

ICU Consultant Dr Laha from Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said;

“Not being able to speak is very frustrating for the patient, and for staff.  We can deal with patients’ needs much more rapidly and the rehabilitation process is much smoother if we can improve communication. SRAVI is absolutely fundamental to the successful treatment of extremely ill patients.”

SRAVI lipreading app shown with a patient

One patient’s use of automated lip-reading explained


The most important people who SRAVI help are the patients. SRAVI has helped patient Nathan Armstrong from Oswaldtwistle. Nathan said “I love how simple SRAVI is to use. SRAVI enables me to tell people what I need.” Nathan is one example of a long term tracheostomy patient.

How Covid-19 impacted automated lip-reading


For many people who have been hospitalised with Covid-19, damage to their throat and vocal cords is a side effect of having ventilation for days or weeks. For these patients, loss of voice is common, and learning to use their vocal cords again is a big part of the recovery process. The core of NHS workers called SLTs – speech and language therapists – are at the front-line of this recovery, and they have never been busier. Therefore, we were really pleased to see the BBC giving due coverage to SLTs on February 7th, in their article “Covid-19: The speech therapists helping patients find their voices”. The article says: “…speech therapists, the often hidden front-line workers who have continued tirelessly throughout the pandemic to help people regain the most basic of human functions.” Their work can help patients learn basic human functions: swallowing and speaking. This healing process can make people feel more normal again, a big step to recovery.

It is our hope that with more awareness of SRAVI we’ll be able to give SLTs one more tool in helping patients battling Covid or any other condition that prevents them from using their voice.

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