An innovative Edinburgh firm has landed €1.28 million in EU funding to boost medical technology
“The potential for this ground-breaking disruptive technology will be keenly anticipated by clinicians and surgeons and will tap into a market for medical imaging 3D display which is set to be worth an estimated $4.3 billion by 2020,” – Holoxica
Edinburgh-based Holoxica, which specialises in holographic 3D visualisation, has netted €1.28 million from the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 SME Instrument – the largest ever EU research and innovation funding programme – to build disruptive holographic video display for medical scanners which will help medics interpret 3D scan images much quicker and could lead to better quality surgical procedures.
According to the firm, which has become one of only four companies in Scotland to receive this award, the funding could lead to a significant step change in clinical CT, ultrasounds and MRI scanning machines.
It says the concept behind the innovation is simple: 3D images should be viewed in 3D easily and comfortably. Current solutions to viewing 3D images using glasses or optical tricks are too clumsy and awkward, leading to problems like motion sickness and disorientation. Holographic technology offers a solution to this problem.
Dr Javid Khan, founder and CEO of Holoxica, said: “We see holographic video displays completely transforming the field of medical imaging. In recent years, there has certainly been improvements in the clarity and detail of datasets produced by Ultrasound, CT, PET and MRI scanners, but whilst these machines generate 3D volumetric imagery as a series of 2D ‘slices’ scanned through the body using radiation, we can present the scans as wholly 3D images via holographic volume displays.
“The display essentially performs the inverse operation and converts radiation into a photonic representation, showing the 2D ‘slices’ as a series of ‘light sheets’ suspended in free space.”
Dr Khan says the potential for this ground-breaking disruptive technology will be keenly anticipated by clinicians and surgeons and will tap into a market for medical imaging 3D display which is set to be worth an estimated $4.3 billion by 2020.
Once built, the holographic video display will be tested in three pilot scenarios for medical teacher/training; diagnostics, review and monitoring of conditions and also for live surgery. Holoxica will carry out initial testing of the holographic video display prototype at Kings College, London; Guys and St Thomas’s Hospital, London and the Clinical Research Imaging Centre at the University of Edinburgh. Siemens Healthcare, the largest provider of medical equipment in Europe, is keen to trial the technology once it is ready for clinical use.
The EC’s Horizon2020 SME instrument – a €740M programme aimed to assist job creation and growth for SME businesses involved in cutting edge research and innovation – is keenly contested with 1000s of SMEs submitting applications to the fund from across the EU.
Caroline Gray-Stephens of Scottish Enterprise’s Enterprise Europe Network team, said: “Holoxica’s success is remarkable given the fierce competition from businesses across Europe to access this funding, it’s great to see a Scottish company succeeding against some of the top European innovators.
“However, this is about more than just funding – Holoxica will also receive free business coaching as part of the package of support, and the Enterprise Europe Network team will be on hand to support the company as they commercialise their pioneering medical imaging technology.”
Holoxica is looking for further investment from Angels and Venture Capital funds to transform the prototype into a product that can be used in a clinical setting. The investment is required for further integration, engineering, user-interface software and full trials. Holoxica will shortly move site from Edinburgh University to CodeBase, the UK’s largest technology incubator. This will enable the company to expand and grow.