Nearly 1 million individuals lose their voice every year due to a traumatic injury or critical illness such as cancer. Comprised of UNC-Chapel Hill graduate and professional students, as well as alumni, LiRA partners with patients and health systems to develop lip-reading software that empowers aphonic (voiceless) individuals. Through our application, LiRA hopes to advance the quality of medical care by restoring conversations between patients and providers.
We feel compelled to solve this issue because of the inequalities voiceless individuals face and the lack of optimal substitutes. Over 400,000 tracheostomies are performed annually in the US, which leaves patients unable to communicate their common wants, express their concerns, or indicate their needs. Voiceless patients experience higher levels of anxiety and frustration, which can lead to depression or even slow recovery time. We want to give patients their voices back so that they may regain their personal autonomy once more. LiRA is striving to build a world where all communication is realized.
- Nga Nguyen
- Marian Isdahl
- Kimi Yingling