Tech start-up of the week: 3D4Medical

23 Dec 2012

From left: comedian Colm O'Regan who hosted the 2012 Appys; John Moore founder and CEO, 3D4Medical; and Julia and Vladimir Boichentsov, developers at 3D4Medical

Our tech start-up of the week is 3D4Medical, a Dublin-based developer of medical and fitness apps that is fast making waves in the med-tech and fitness app marketplace.

3D4Medical is the genesis of Irishman John Moore who set up the company in 2004 primarily as a stock image company.

“We were one of the first companies to make 18,000 images of 3D medical stock images. We were in partnership, and still are, with Getty Images and Corbis.”

He says that the stock image side went particularly well, with 3D4Medical’s images being used on the covers of such magazines as Time and National Geographic between 2005 and 2006.

This side of the business is still running, with 3D4Medical creating the images in CAD before rendering them out and making them photo-realistic.

“We create photo-realistic images and animations without any gore,” explains Moore.

Apps for the iPhone

In 2007, however, he says that the company realised it had all these 3D models and assets and started to think about breaking into other marketplaces.

“We could see that advertising budgets were being hit around the world so therefore we weren’t selling as much images. We decided to take a punch and started developing medical applications for the iPhone.”

However, Moore says that the real Eureka moment for the company came with the genesis of the iPad.

“The very nature of the iPad with its large screen and processing powers just worked incredibly well with what we could do and push the boundaries.”

3D4Medical currently employs around 45 people and has its head office in Dublin, along with bases in the Ukraine, Russia and the US.

“We have 25 people at our Dublin base. We’ve got about 12 people in the Ukraine office, a couple of people in Russia and a couple of people in the US,” explains Moore.

The core business market for 3D4Medical’s apps is medical students and for doctors to use them medical references. Moore says that the company’s apps are also used for patient education.

In addition, the company is targeting the consumer market with its fitness apps such as iMuscle and iYoga.

iMuscle app

Screenshot of iMuscle app on the iPad

Via the iMuscle app, one is presented with a 3D man and you can zoom into any area of the body, touch a muscle, and the app will show you various exercises to build up that particular muscle.

3D4Medical’s iMuscle app has been No 1 in many countries in the Health and Fitness category on the Apple App Store. The app has also just been released as a Mac version.

“We have sold over a million iMuscle apps over the last 15 months,” Moore explains.

On the horizon

Upcoming apps in the pipeline, he says, will include iMuscle for Home and an iDance app, which will be based upon the same technology as its iYoga app.

3D4Medical has also teamed up with an Irish rehab company and will be bringing out a group of rehabilitation apps aimed at physiotherapists.

“We’re also bringing out a dental app that has taken us years to develop. We will have over 200 animations on it – everything from showing a cavity and a root canal. It is another patient education app,” he explains.

All of 3D4Medical’s apps are developed in collaboration with Stanford University School of Medicine.

The Apple vibe

Finally, Moore says that the company has a very close working relationship with Apple. “Our apps have featured have been in three iPad ads and also in the new iPad mini ad.”

This year, Apple also sent a team of around 25 people to Dublin to shoot a video of 3D4Medical for its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) that took place in June.

“They showcased 3D4Medical as a poster company for developers. There was a great response and it gave us a lot of credibility,” says Moore.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic