COVID Lung 3D Model
- Tech, TWIDH

3D Medical Imaging Illustrates Damage COVID-19 Causes

We sat down with Ed LaHood, CEO at Thyng, LLC, to discuss 3D Medical Imaging and some other exciting things coming to the MedReality platform.

Good afternoon and welcome to This Week in Digital Health. I am your host, Mike Doherty, and we’re here today with Ed LaHood from Thyng LLC, based in Chicago. Ed, what’s going on?

Oh, Mike. Good to talk to you today, man. Thank you.  We’re doing a lot of cool stuff. I’d love to tell you about it.

We’re on a video, so you should, by all means.

Yes, of course. I started the company about seven years ago, and we’re really focusing on creating amazing 3D visualization, Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) solutions for the medical arena. Our medical brand is called MedReality, and it’s so exciting because there is a huge opportunity in the medical community to introduce all of these new technologies. People hear about Artificial Intelligence (AI) in medicine, which is fantastic. Also, there is an incredible opportunity to start using all kinds of 3D visualization within medicine. It could be 3D visualization, looking at a 3D object and manipulating it within your web browser. It could be looking at a 3D object in virtual reality on an oculus or augmented reality on HoloLens, or even an augmented reality on an iPhone, a standard iPhone.

The beautiful thing is that there’s an opportunity to really change medicine and to save lives because, when you think about when somebody goes in for this is what we’re doing a lot of. Everybody goes in for a CT scan or an MRI scan. Oftentimes the doctors, the radiologists, the physicians…they’re still looking at those scans like they’ve done for years; meaning they’re looking at black and white slices of a CT scan that was taken, maybe of your chest area or of an MRI scan, which is great and many of the physicians were taught to read the film that way, but these days we have a whole new level of technology, which is incredible; where we can take 600 slices from a CT scan. So, 600 black and white images, and we can convert them into a beautiful, fully textured, full color, three-dimensional model of one of your body parts. So, a model of your heart or a beautiful 3d model of your spine or, God forbid, a model of a spine with a tumor around it. And it gives physicians, radiologists, surgeons, clinicians of all types—a whole new way to look at and understand what’s going on inside your body.

So, in the case of a complex tumor that may be wrapped around a spine, they can now look at it in 3D on their iPhone or in their web browser, and see exactly what’s going on with that tumor, and understand the best way to approach surgery, allow clinicians to collaborate on what’s happening, allow patients to have a better understanding of what’s going on inside their bodies. So, they can see it and, so, we’re putting together a platform that, really, we’re calling it kind of the last mile of 3D visualization for medicine where radiologists and physicians can now take this, which was previously 600 black and white slices of a CT scan and now visualize it in full 3-D on any device, anywhere in the world. And that’s really kind of the core vision of the MedReality platform.

And now, what we’re doing, which is also amazing, to introduce this technology to everyone, including physicians, including patients, including educators at, whether they’re medical schools or universities, introduce to researchers. What we’re doing is we’ve started a marketplace that we call the MedReality marketplace. The marketplace will focus on having 3-D models, which is a fantastic 3-D model of real anatomies from real people that show real medical cases. Some of them may be healthy, some of them may be abnormal or diseased, but the whole idea is to have a marketplace of incredible real-world 3D anatomies that allow people to learn to understand. To be able to, whether they’re physicians, whether they’re students, whether they’re researchers, or whether they’re patients, to really allow folks to have a broader, better, more complete understanding of what’s going on inside their body.

The first model that we launched the MedReality marketplace, which is an incredible model. It’s a 3D model of an actual COVID lung. So, it’s a set of lungs that have been infected with COVID, and this is the first 3D model that’s downloadable of a COVID lung. In the world, some folks have seen pictures of a COVID lung, maybe in a magazine, this is the first one that everyone can download, and it’s from a real patient. It’s from day nine of their COVID infection. This patient actually ended up going on a ventilator three days after this model was created.

3D Medical Imaging Illustrates Damage COVID-19 Causes

And what’s incredible is what you can see with this model. And now everyone can see this because it’s right there in front of you in beautiful color and beautiful 3D. You don’t have to be a physician to understand or be trained as a physician to understand what’s going on. You can see this amazing set of lungs. Then, within the set of lungs, you can see all of the pockets of fluid that have developed in the lungs as a result of the COVID infection and, typically, COVID, when it attacks your lungs, it starts to attack in the lower lung, in the lower lobes of the lungs, on the periphery of the lungs. So, you can see all of those classic kinds of signs of COVID in this 3D model of COVID-infected lungs. So, you see, healthy lung tissue, but then you see these incredible and really startling pockets of COVID infection throughout the periphery of the lungs. The lower lobes of the lungs are full. You see pockets of cold infection starting to kind of form around all of the bronchi within the lungs, the areas of the lungs that kind of distribute the air and distribute the blood and, so, it’s amazing to see.

It’s part of our whole mission; to be able to educate the world on, of course, 3D and 3D visualization, but also how to use 3D and 3D visualization as a tool to really educate the world on many of these areas of medicine that have kind of been a mystery, and to kind of take the covers off that mystery. To really show people what’s happening inside of their body in many different types of medical cases. Show it to them in true 3D that you can see in your web browser, see on your iPhone, see anywhere and allow people to understand what these kinds of medical situations entail, but also kind of to introduce them to this new technology that allows them to easily view and understand all of these types of medical situations.

3D Medical Imaging Illustrates Damage COVID-19 Causes

It is my understanding the good news is this patient has since recovered, right?

Thank God. Yes. So, that’s the good news. That it’s just recovered, that’s the good news. And I wouldn’t say the bad news, but the dramatic impact is it looks like COVID has impacted somewhere between 50 and 60% of the lung. So, I mean, it’s the visualization. It’s quite dramatic because you can see how pervasive it was. That was our sense, exactly, when we first saw this model. We were floored because I think everyone has kind of this understanding of, “okay. Yes. COVID can impact your lungs, but I don’t think everyone really realizes the extent that COVID impacts your lungs and, when they say, covid can attack fast and that your health can change very quickly.

I think this is the perfect illustration of that because, exactly, as you said. You look at it. You’re like, “oh my gosh. This has literally impacted 50 to 60 percent of their lungs. When you think about it, when you think about its impact on your ability to breathe and oxygenate your body, that’s the startling impact that COVID has. I think this visualization brings it to life better than anything else we could imagine.

Let me ask you a couple of questions: what do the radiologists think of this? Is this threatening to them? Is this a good thing or a bad thing? What’s their opinion?

The radiologists love it and embrace it because, I’ll tell you, and for lots of reasons. We’re working with many great radiologists on many fronts, helping develop the technology, helping distribute and roll out the technology. For many years, you know the radiologists have great tools at their disposal. They have incredible machinery: CTs and MRIs. Radiologists have workstations at their disposal that allow them to visualize these CT scans as they come off the CT and MRI machines. But, still, one of the things that I think radiologists for many years have struggled with is that part of what a radiologist needs to do. They need to be able to convey this information to other folks within the hospital.

They need to be able to convey this information to other physicians, to surgeons, to patients, to staff, to folks at other hospitals, and I think many radiologists have seen this as a challenge; meaning how do they, first of all, how do they get the information from their workstation to the physician or the patient and then, two, how do they put the information into a form that’s easily understandable by the physicians or the patients. And many, many physicians are pretty adept at you reading a single x-ray, and they can say, “oh yeah. That bone is broken.” But it becomes more complicated when it’s a case like a tumor wrapped around your spine where you know you really need to have multiple, simultaneous angles on that vision to really understand it. So, the bottom line is that the radiologists embrace this technology; it gives them a way to distribute the knowledge they need to distribute and then put the knowledge into a form that’s easily understandable by anyone outside of the radiology suite.

I know one of the things is the challenge in radiology. It’s sort of the bottleneck, right? Someone needs to be available to do the scans and then read them, and then somebody has to walk them over to the doctor. So, there’s this whole delay. How will this impact the process? Will we be able to get beyond the data silos and actually see things in real-time?

That’s the goal. And that’s really what we’re working on kind of day in and day out. The ability not just to distribute this anywhere, but to distribute it in the easily understandable form, but to do it immediately. So, all of these delays are based on the old workflows, whatever those workflows may have been. But, those delays can also be overcome, and that’s part of the beauty of what we’re doing; that is because everything is digital and distributed digitally and obviously converted to this optimum digital form. So, there is this immediacy about what we’re doing, which is, amongst everything else, a huge component that makes it very attractive and can use existing technologies to capture the images.

Or do we need new technologies to support this?

Well, that’s a great question and one of the other things that we’ve been doing. We’re working very hard to understand how we can insert this technology into existing workflows, using existing hardware, existing workstations, and allowing this technology to plug right in. So, that becomes easy to go out of the current radiology hardware slash software into what we’re doing and, so, we’ve really spent a lot of time structuring that so that we can slip right in and do as exactly as you said: use existing hardware, use existing software, use existing workstations, and slip this technology in. So that the use of it becomes seamless, and we’re doing a lot of interesting things on that front, but yes, that’s exactly what we’re focusing on. That’s right.

How are the big image players responding to this? Does this make you an acquisition target? Are they trying to reverse engineer it? What’s going on?

Well, more of probably the first because we’re really the first, and we’ve you, not to say too much, but we’ve talked to all of them. We’ve partnered with some of them. We’re partnering with some of them and what’s interesting is there are a few big players that make kind of the big iron, the big CT scanners, the big MRI standards, and, interestingly, that’s a great business for them, of course. But, they are still looking, obviously, for new angles to sell more equipment, but also new angles to take what comes out of their existing equipment and make it better because, if we can do that, that helps them sell more equipment.

And it prolongs the life of the equipment, too. Right?

It prolongs the life of the equipment. It prolongs the utility of the equipment and, so, they look at what we’re doing is kind of like a godsend. They don’t look like a competition. It’s an augmentation, basically, that allows everything that they’re producing to now is used in a whole new way and, so, everything that we’re doing is really an amazing positive catalyst to the big equipment makers, to the CT makers, the MRI makers; for all of those reasons. And, so, they’re embracing this technology, and I think a lot of those companies are typically bigger companies.

Typically, it’s kind of harder to innovate in bigger companies in bigger companies as quickly as it is in smaller companies. So, in many cases, management looks to the smaller companies for that innovation. Whether it’s through a partnership or through whatever that relationship may be and the recipients, the doctors, the surgeons, all these types of people, are they open to this because they’re not really looking to embrace change. So they’ve been doing things for a long time. It seems to be working. Are they receptive to this?

Yeah. And it’s a great question because, you’re right, in many cases physicians, all things, being equal, they would rather just keep doing things the same way. They’re not interested in disrupting their workflow if it works for them already. So, it’s fine and, what’s interesting is that everyone that starts to use it wants to embrace it because they realize that there is a significant, tangible value that this brings or multiple values that destroy and, so, the caveat to what you said, which is true that in general, all things being equal, physicians don’t want change. However, if there is something that can dramatically save them time, or make them more efficient, or save money, or improve patient outcomes, save more patient lives, or help them even explain something better to a patient. Physicians tell me all the time, “look, I spend three-quarters of my day explaining things to patients.” If I can even make that process simpler, better, faster, that does me a world of good and, so, when you marry that with all other advantages of improving patient outcomes, improved deficiencies, etc. When they see this and understand the value proposition, they embrace it, and it goes beyond the conventional wisdom that they don’t want to change. When they see this, they embrace it, and then, obviously, the holy grail is what do the payers think.

Yeah. That was a question. What do the payers think? There’s an entire kind of area of focus around that also, and, obviously, especially in the value-based care, right?

As you said, they want better outcomes.

In addition, they want fewer re-hospitalizations, greater efficiencies, and less cost.

That’s exactly right. That’s exactly right. And when you start to look at the value proposition for technologies like this, you start to understand who pays for it. Does it increase revenues? Does it save money? What is kind of the financial model around using technology like this? There are many ways to look at it, and we are using all of those approaches and, granted, kind selling this based on all of those approaches. And I can touch on a few of them very quickly, so one model revolves around. And there’s a lot of models, but, obviously, one model revolves around the recruitment and retention of patients. So, obviously, when you start to look at utilizing this technology, you start to look at it from a patient perspective.

And the idea is that oftentimes patients go into a hospital. They want to be made comfortable. They want to understand what’s going on. They want to know that the hospital is at the forefront and the cutting edge. Many hospitals embrace this technology for all the reasons we talked about and for a very fiscal reason. Look. We can utilize this technology to show customers how advanced we are, which helps us recruit new patients to use this technology in marketing. To show the cool stuff, they’re doing and also retaining patients; meaning hospitals can get one, or two, or three new you know patients a year with significant cases, that pays for this already, if they can retain one, or two, or three paid more patients a year because the patient sees that the hospital has this technology. And that wows them and prevents them from going somewhere else. That covers the cost of this.

So, looking at it from that angle is one fascinating angle, obviously. There’s also the angle of looking at it from saving money and improving patient outcomes, which can be quantified. There’s also the angle of, and this is the angle that’s evolving pretty quickly, the angle of using billable codes to cover new technologies like this. There are currently existing codes on the books that start to get into this area. For example, showing a 3D visualization to a patient on a separate device from the radiologist’s workstation. There’s a code for that, and there’s a lot of other work being done right now to embrace billable codes for everything from 3D printing to 3D visualization in all of its forms. And, so, as kind of the industry evolves very quickly, this is becoming more this technology; is becoming more and more entrenched in all facets, including the pay side.

I was on a panel the other day, and it was about talent acquisition. One of the key points to the discussion was that healthcare organizations need to be embracing the latest technologies because that’s actually very attractive to talent acquisition, right? If somebody is newly out of school, they want to work for the company that’s got the latest technology, right? It’s huge.

You’re exactly right. And that’s another big driver of this. And we deal with it every day as far as looking to recruit the new, the best, and the brightest and clearly to do that, the hospital needs to show that they’re really working with the latest technology; to make themselves attractive to the best and brightest. So you hit the nail on the head. That’s exactly right.

When you released the COVID model, were you guys surprised? Were you like, “Oh my God. I can’t believe we actually did it? Or you’re far enough along.

Of course, we did it. Well, a combination, because we were far enough along with this technology that we knew we could produce something that would be incredible. That would be eye-opening. That many cases may be shocking, and we could create something that was inherently also. In its own way, I hate to say the word beautiful, but it is beautiful in the sense that, look, you’re actually able to see inside someone’s body and see what’s really going on. And I think we all knew that we could create something incredible, but I think, as we kind of were going along the path, and it was happening.

We even had our own minds blown as far as the impact that this model could have as far as you the sheer quality of the model; both because we have multiple versions of the model that we include in the package when someone downloads it, we have textured versions of the model, which really give you kind of a view of how things really look. We have a transparent version of the model that allows you to see inside the lungs and even have a more dramatic view of where COVID has impacted, and then we have separate versions of each of the components. So, separate versions of the actual COVID infection where you can just look at the COVID model and see how dramatic it is.

And, so, we even, I mean I love your question because we have even surprised ourselves, as we were going through this process, as to the impact of the model, as to in some ways the beauty of the model. and in our excitement to get the model out there, and show the world. So, yes, I mean, we knew it would be amazing, but it even blew away our own expectations.

In the demo, I know that I was looking at a visual, a video. So, I couldn’t control it, but I’m assuming that when you supply this model, the clinician will control the rotation, stop it, and look at certain areas. If they want to focus on something,

Yes, Mike, thanks for asking. That’s exactly right. And so that was also part of putting together the entire experience for this model and other models on the MedReality marketplace. We wanted our customers and users to experience this model in many different ways and make it as easy as possible for them to experience it. And, so, what we’re doing is providing this model and making it available through many different experiences. So, number one, users can actually download the full model and view it in any other kind of 3D software out there that they may use for any other purposes: 3D printing or anything.

Still, the easiest way to view the model is right after you get it. You can view it within the web browser, and you can go back to that. So, you can take any of the nine models that come in the package. And we have an incredible live 3D web viewer that runs in a web browser, and you can move it, manipulate it, turn it in any direction you want, zoom in and out, move it around. And it allows for amazing 3-D visualization on a web browser. I can even share my screen and show it to you if you like. If you want to see it, we’ll include the video. So, yeah, people will get a chance to see that.

So tell me a little bit about the companies. I’m assuming you’re privately held.

Yes. We’re privately held. That’s right. Yes.

And have you received funding?

Yes. We have over the years. We’ve raised a couple of rounds of venture funding, and we’re actually, probably gonna be raising another round maybe later this year, but what we’re doing is…yes. So, we’re privately held, venture-funded, and we’ve got some great investors we love working with. Yes.

And what is next? Are there specific areas that you will focus on when it comes to the modeling?

We’re doing one of the exciting things, and we really see ourselves as creating an entire ecosystem, and that ecosystem consists of great content like the COVID lung model that we’ve talked about. The ecosystem also consists of our core MedReality platform. And the core Medreality platform is the platform that allows us or physicians, or really anyone in the world, to visualize these 3D medical models across different platforms.

So, you can visualize the 3D models, as we talked about, on a web browser. You can visualize the model on an iPhone, Android, HoloLens, or Oculus. So, the MedReality platform is really great because it allowed for one model to be distributed across any platform anywhere globally and visualized, on the web with 3D visualization, and oculus, with VR, or in a HoloLens with AR and or on an iPhone with AR. So, all of those things are available as a result of the MedReality platform.

Well, this is a platform as a service play?

That’s exactly right. And then what we’re also doing is we’ve got some other very cool components that we’re creating; that plug into the MedReality platform. Either as input devices or as output devices. And one device that I can talk about is something that we call MedCreator. Now the sticking with the MedCreator is an incredible actual box that is a 3D scanner. And there are lots of 3D scanners out there that people have seen, handheld 3D scanners, or you can even use your iPhone to kind of scan 3D objects, but this box is incredible. And it’s really geared towards pathology departments within a hospital. And the box allows you to put in a pathology specimen. So, something like an actual heart, an actual brain, and touch one button does a complete 3D scan of that object with multiple cameras in about a minute and a half. And that automatically converts that object into a beautiful 3D textured model that feeds into the MedReality system.

So, you can basically go from an actual physical specimen to a beautiful digital 3D model with one touch. So, it kind of continues to show the direction that we’re going, providing this suite of solutions that revolve around the MedReality platform. All involve 3D visualization; all involve digitizing anatomies to view in 3D, approaching it from different angles, and providing different components that I’ll plug into this main system.

And what about security?  Because that’s obviously a genuine concern.

This is personal data, private healthcare data, and that’s one of the big things also. That’s a focus of ours; creating all of this technology within a HIPAA compliant, secure environment because, obviously, we’re working with data originating from patients. So, it may just be a patient’s heart. You really may not be personally identifiable information associated with that heart, per se, associated with. It could be identifiable. So, obviously, everything we’re doing…there’s a huge focus on security and HIPAA compliance.

All that good stuff, and then what are the expectations? As far as where will you go from here?

Yes. Perfect. And one of the great things that we’re doing is we’re starting to work with some great hospitals, some great doctors, to really get the technology out there and, so, a big focus of ours right now is penetration; is working with great folks in the industry, educating them about this technology and getting them started to use the technology, and then working with them to advance their use and, so, really our focus is penetrating the market education; first penetrating the market, and then scaling them up so they can use this kind of every day. And a big part of our focus is the ability to use this technology, to use this incredible 3D visualization technology in its various forms, whether it’s through the web browser, or an iPhone, or an oculus to allow hospitals, and the physicians, the patients to use this technology today.

So, we don’t want to sell something three years away, or five years away, or ten years away. We want to sell something that can actually get into people’s hands; they can use this afternoon and do it in a way where there are incredible use cases. The technology is immediately available to them, and it can start having an impact right away. So, that is a lot of the kind of approach we’re taking to educate and penetrate the market. Look, this is not a future technology. This is something you can start using in 10 minutes and start to see outcomes right away. And that’s one thing that excites us, and utilizing that ability, then grow the use cases and really get this out there and in a massive form.

In AI, for instance, we’ve seen that Artificial Intelligence has given us insights, which has led to earlier detection or diagnosis because we see things a lot earlier based on the insights that are being generated. So, how do you think this will change healthcare?

I think it’ll compare dramatically. And I think, just as the perfect example, is AI. As you mentioned, where AI can be used to spot abnormalities sooner, it can be used to make diagnoses sooner. The ability for 3D visualization, I think, to impact healthcare is incredible. Even beyond what we can imagine now, I’ll show you some of the more future visuals. Of course, there is this incredible, immediate distributed ability for anyone in the workflow. Now, to visualize what’s going on in someone’s body faster sooner better than they ever could, and if you extrapolate that out the ability to then leverage off of that to make faster decisions to make better decisions to make decisions that you that can save lives is incredible, but beyond that, the ability then to use the same technology, the same types of 3D anatomical visualizations that we’re talking about and then start to do some even more incredible things; many of which we’re working with today, which is the ability to kind of visualize anatomies, actually, on top of your body.

So, the ability for you to look in the mirror, or for someone to look at you, and see your heart properly positioned over your body, and to examine it in the context of your actual body, and all of its surrounding organs, whether that’s for, as we’ve talked about education or pre-op planning, or clinician collaboration, and then the ability to extrapolate that out a little further, and the ability then to have that information provide augmentation to actual surgery. So, before the surgeon even goes in, they can see where your bodily organ is. See what’s going on with your bodily organ and have that drive improved surgical outcomes.

And so, the ability to utilize this technology, both in the immediate, short term and in the mid to long term, will be incredible. And it is really going to, I think, change the way that health care is done on many levels: from, as we talked about, clinician collaboration, patient education, pre-op planning in the short term to all the longer-term implications of actual surgical augmentation, etc.

In thinking about the COVID lung example, the model, that particular model, that’s a static view, correct?

That’s correct. Yes. That’s a snap.

Do you have or will you have the ability to show progression?

Yes. So, there’s this other whole area of study in the sense that there are many amazing ways to show progression through animations, through data that are collected over time, and then digitized into 3D and, so you can see what is effectively a predefined timeline of animation that you can go back and forth and, actually, understand how those lungs got to be so bad. And then how they got better, and that is available today. And also the types of things that we’re working on.

The even kind of more amazing potential kind of future vision is in creating this “4D effect,” which I’ll call it, which is 3D visualizations over time. You have the time dimension, so it’s now 4D, and the real future vision is to be able to provide this kind of 4D visualization in real-time, potentially, based on specific patient circumstances. So, how to capture the data? How to, in real-time, interpret the data and then present the data has caught the attention of a lot of people and is a direction that we see all of this going. So, yes, there are, I think, multiple levels of showing the progression. The short-term level is capturing and presenting data over time, is somewhat of an animated format, and then the longer-term view is how can we capture and present it in ineffectively real-time.

Yeah. I mean, the vision I was having in my head was a doctor having some sort of, you know, glasses where he can see the model, right? While he’s working on the patient, but have the model as a reference, as well. Some sort of smart glasses, Google glasses, or something like that. So that he has the model in front of them to compare to what he’s actually seen in real life.

I’ll tell you, I mean, and those are the types of things we’re working on today because we support some of those right now, including the hollow lens, too, and so with the HoloLens, you have this incredible ability actually to be hands-free. You can wear the HoloLens to a set of goggles that allow you to have a see-through screen built into them. So, you can see in front of you the 3D model. It’s there in real space, properly sized. You can walk around it. You can reach out with your real hands and touch it and manipulate it. Make it bigger, smaller, rotate it, translate it, and when you start to kind of marry that idea, with the idea of overlaying that model properly positioned onto someone’s actual body, and then having that model effectively be a real-time representation of what’s going on inside of their body because you’ve been able to capture real-time data then you’ve got an incredible situation where the surgeons have a tool at their disposal, which they could have only dreamed of a few years ago. And, so, and that’s the direction that all of this is going. So, your vision is exactly right, Mike.

Cool! Sometimes I’m paying attention, and it works once in a while. So, I know you guys are planning to raise some money shortly. What else is on the roadmap as far as milestones?

Yes. Definitely. So, we’re growing in a lot of different directions, and that includes everything; as you can imagine, it includes a growing headcount, growing customers, raising money, and a pretty aggressive product roadmap that allows us to continue to grow; kind of the core platform in a lot of amazing ways.

And, so, I think we referred to earlier. We love amazing ourselves and, so, we love coming up with a road map and envisioning where things are going, and then coming up with something that is even more amazing, in one way or another; even something that we thought would be five years away, happened in two months, which has happened before. Or a technology that we knew would be incredible, but when we see it in action, it even blows us away, and we’ve seen a lot of that quite honestly with some of the body trackings and body overlay things that we were just referring to. Where we can overlay an actual physical heart onto you and those types of things when you’re working in that arena every day. I mean, you look forward to kind of almost every day because every day holds something incredible.

One last question for you: So, you guys are obviously located in Chicago. We had a little discussion before we started. Tell me what it’s like working. You’re not in Silicon Valley. You’re not up in Boston. What are the advantages of being in the Midwest?

Well, and it’s a great question, too, and we talk about it all the time, and it’s something. I’ve been building startups and investing in startups for almost 30 years; here in the Midwest. So, it’s something that I think about a lot. I think, certainly, there are great advantages to being in northern California and Silicon Valley, as far as access to resources, and access to people, and money, and great talent, and advantages to being in other various geographic areas, but I’ve always been partial to the Midwest. And I think there’s a lot of advantage to the Midwest, in the sense that there’s, you know. It’s, well, centrally located within the U.S., which is important, but not so important, but I think there’s been a growing especially in the Chicago area. A growing technology community where and all of the kind of ecosystem around them as far as wonderfully talented people, as far as access to funding resources, as far as access to companies to work with and partner with, whether they be in healthcare or retail or whatever business you might be in. And so, I think there are many advantages to being in the Midwest, especially in the context of fairly recently growing a kind of tech infrastructure and ecosystem.

There are some huge health care providers in the Midwest, too, right?

Yeah. Totally. Exactly. And I think one of the interesting things that COVID has done is allow us to come up with not just us. But, still, just everyone to come up with clever ways to communicate with your customers, with potential customers, with your employees, with your partners, and in a sense, it’s kind of you to know shrunk in the world; even more, because it’s forced us to really be able to have discussions that involve demonstrating products, or selling products, or developing products, and not necessarily have to raise money, or whatever your startup is doing, and not necessarily have to be in the same city, or the same room. And, I think, obviously, there’s a lot of great advantages to being in the same room with folks, or being in the same city with folks. But, still, I think that the Midwest has proven to be, I think, able to support and help grow some amazing businesses. And I think when you when you appreciate all that it has to offer, as does Northern California, as do a lot of other places, you can really take advantage of those assets that it has to offer. So, yeah, I mean, I think it’s been a great place.

I guess the other thing that sort of comes to mind and, if this were a different time, maybe 24 months ago, you would be taking this product to conferences, and you would be doing the circuit, right?

That’s exactly right. And that’s not currently available to you. There is virtual, but there are very few in-person events.

How has that impacted your ability to bring a part of a product to market?

A hundred percent; it’s impacted us. A great question, and we realized early on, especially as COVID, was rapidly developing that. Oh my gosh, we have this incredible product that we want to get out there and, of course, as you said, in normal times, we’d be doing the circuit. We’d be going to conferences. We’d be visiting hospitals and physicians, and administrators directly, and doing live demonstrations, and blowing their socks off, and the question was, okay, how in this new world of COVID. Can we develop this technology so that it can be demonstrated over the web? So, that it can be distributed electronically. So, folks and customers can get up and running in minutes and not have to have some type of big physical delivery and all of those things.

We have focused our efforts on creating the product that we have today. So that was the goal with MedReality; to allow physicians, hospitals, surgeons, radiologists, administrators to embrace this technology, literally, in minutes. And how can we do that? We came up with what I think is a wonderful architecture that allows us to do that, which is, I think you said the great words, this platform as a service where someone can get up and running within minutes, with our technology, by simply going to the website, signing up for an account. They automatically have access to all kinds of 3D models they can visualize. They have access to an uploader through the web, where they can upload their own models. They can download our IOS app from the IOS app store, create an account, log in. It all ties together the app ties with the web, and they have this amazing ability; literally within minutes to start to number one experience. Through AR on an iPhone, this technology in multiple forms, whether through a web browser and then they could also start to upload their own objects and experience how the technology can be useful for them in their own practice. And all of that without us ever having to visit them, without them having to receive a shipment of any kind, everything can be delivered digitally, electronically, and experienced nearly immediately.

Oh, cool, sir. We very much appreciate your time today. It sounds like you guys are doing some really amazing stuff, and we look forward to following you and see what you guys develop down the road. So please stay in touch and, again, thank you for joining us.

Mike, fantastic, thank you. It was great talking today. Let’s talk more soon.


MedReality, a healthcare-focused 3D visualization platform dedicated to streamlining care and improving patient outcomes, announces the world’s first public release of a 3D Model of lungs severely damaged by COVID – and its immediate availability for anyone in the world download and experience using real-time 3D visualization.  The 3D model shows the significant and devastating impact that Covid can have on the lungs.

The COVID-19 Lung 3D Model was created from an actual patient with severe COVID Illness. The detailed COVID-19 Lung Model was created from a CT scan of the patient on day 9 of their COVID-19 infection. The patient was placed on a ventilator soon after the CT scan was taken and remained on the ventilator for twelve days, ultimately surviving the infection. The 3D model allows everyone to see the significant and devastating impact COVID can have on the lungs, including on the lower lobes of the lungs, on the periphery of the lungs, and around the bronchi within the lungs.

The COVID lung model is available exclusively on the MedReality Marketplace, an online market for high-quality 3D medical models created from real medical specimens and imaging data. Real-world 3D medical models, like the Covid lung, can advance education and understanding for physicians, patients, researchers, and the public.  The COVID-19 Lung model is both viewable in augmented reality on our MedReality app and as a downloadable package of 3D files to be used in education, digital media, 3D printing, and news.

About Thyng

Thyng LLC, based in Chicago, was founded in 2014 with the vision of utilizing real-time 3D Visualization to improve our daily lives. Thyng’s MedReality brand focuses on using Thyng technology within healthcare to improve patient outcomes and save lives.

3D Medical Imaging Illustrates Damage COVID-19 Causes

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