Bloomberg Businessweek | Michelle Cortez
Form and function
EchoPixel’s software stitches together data from CT scans, MRI machines, and ultrasounds to generate 3D images that medical professionals and patients can examine and manipulate using 3D glasses and a stylus.
Innovator Sergio Aguirre
Title Founder of EchoPixel, a four-year-old, 18-employee medical-imaging startup in Mountain View, Calif.
The system has a desktop PC equipped with EchoPixel software and cameras that track a user’s head movements. Wearing 3D glasses, viewers can see an exact replica of the subject’s anatomy and use an accompanying stylus to digitally manipulate parts of the body projected on the screen.
Aguirre, who has a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Monterrey in Mexico, first tried to use 3D imaging for oil exploration but found more data available in radiology and other medical fields. He founded EchoPixel in 2012.
EchoPixel has about 20 paying subscribers, including Stanford and the Cleveland Clinic.
The company charges $25,000 a year for a subscription to its software, or $22,000 a year with a longer-term contract.
EchoPixel pitches its technology as a way to diagnose diseases, plan surgeries, and educate patients. For doctors, it can also take the guesswork out of converting 2D scans to 3D actions.
“This interactive virtual reality really facilitates understanding,” says Ken Merdan, a senior research and development fellow at medical-device maker Boston Scientific. “When you are looking at something complex—and anatomy is complex and hard to understand—it’s easier to grasp in a short time frame.” The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved EchoPixel’s system, and the company says it’s working on refinements that will eliminate the need for 3D glasses, letting people view its images on standard mobile devices.