Most of us take the ability to speak for granted. With our mouths easily spinning together endless strings of words, the ability to speak holds great value and functionality. However, each year approximately one million individuals lose their voice and struggle with aphonia caused by surgical interventions. The brilliant minds behind RAP startup, LiRA, want to change that and give patients their voice back through utilizing next-generation voice restoration technology on an AI-based platform. 

Andrew Prince, the CEO of LiRA, founded the venture in 2019 with a multi-disciplinary group of professionals from UNC while participating in an experiential entrepreneurship course. What started as an idea transformed into a successful operation with the team utilizing machine learning and data collection to create and refine a web-based smart app that can transform lip motion into speech. With many voiceless patients struggling to communicate simple requests or statements such as ‘may I have some water’ or ‘my head hurts,’ LiRA’s technology will change that and help many conquer the devastation of voicelessness. 

Currently, with the help of a $10K MICRO grant from NC IDEA,  LiRA’s program successfully translates lip motions with a ten second latency with hopes of optimizing to three seconds.

LiRA needs your help! LiRA is asking the community to help provide the data that can help them achieve this ambitious goal. Spending just a few minutes recording yourself speaking out loud using their program, LipTrain, can help LiRA perfect their solution that can provide incredible relief for patients experiencing voicelessness.