Medical illustrations are focus of Ames company’s iPad apps, software
An Ames, Iowa team aims to make complex medical information easier to understand for doctors, nurses and patients.
iSO-FORM, founded in 2010, "uses game technology for real-time and 3D experiences," said Nick Klein, partner and director of innovation. He said by using the latest innovations in game technology, digital storytelling and biomedical visualization, the company's artists and developers create mobile apps, web experiences and kiosk displays.
"We saw this as a huge opportunity for the healthcare and medical industry," Klein said, "and no one was filling the gap."
The company creates custom client products – from scope, design, development and execution – along with their own intellectual property. Two of the company's iPad apps, BoneBox Skull Viewer and Living Lung - Lung Viewer, are available for $1.99 and free, respectively.
BoneBox Skull Viewer is a medical education tool that features anatomical skull models and interactive elements, according to the app's description. The user can orient the 3D skull in any position and zoom in to a location to explore anatomical structures.
Living Lung is both a medical education tool and patient communication tool that features anatomical respiratory models. The user can place the lungs, rib cage and associated structures in any position and zoom in to a location to explore the anatomical features.
When the founders started the company, they pooled together their own money and resources, spending nights and weekends to get it going, said Russell Adams, partner and director of technology.
"We wanted to grow the company organically," Adams said. "So we all quit our day jobs at various points to work on iSO-FORM full time."
Along with five full-time team members, the company employs about five freelance designers.
Adams said they were drawn to Ames through networks originating with a previous company, Engineering Animation Inc.* In addition, John Dorn taught for Iowa State's biological/pre-medical illustration program, from which Klein also graduated.
"There's a lot of talent in Ames," Klein said. "There are only (a few) undergraduate degree programs like this in the country, so it's a specialized field."**
Klein said there isn't much in terms of competition right now. He said those companies are actually calling them now and turning out to be their clients.
As for the future, Adams said they're avoiding investment capital. "We'll hire a business development person and continue to grow our business and employees," he said. "We're looking for natural growth in the three to five year range, instead of rapid growth and a sell-off."
*Update Thursday – The article stated an ISU program drew the co-founders to Ames, but more accurately, the three individuals were drawn to the city through networks originating with Engineering Animation Inc.
**Update Thursday – The quote incorrectly stated "there are only two undergraduate degree programs." It should be "a few." The quote has been updated to reflect this error.