What started with an idea at 2 a.m. in a small room has now become the promising start-up Z Imaging, which creates software to guide surgeons and mechanics. The co-founders, Jose Amich and Raahil Sha, have developed a software toolkit for Augmented Reality (AR) applications especially focused on high-precision use cases.
It all started in their college years when they had watched a surgeon performing a minimally invasive operation while relying heavily on information presented on 2D screens – a visualization that adversely affected speed and accuracy. They decided to find a better solution and thus built a software development kit (SDK) that enables developers to build custom AR tools that seamlessly fuse 3D images with objects in the real world.
AR for high-precision contexts
AR is currently used mostly in gaming and social media and is not useful in high-precision contexts as AR tools are either too imprecise or too slow to be used effectively in high-end settings. Moreover, current SDKs are not designed to meet the challenges of specialized industries.
“When thinking of AR gaming applications, the objects you look at could shift a couple of centimeters without any negative impact, but that’s obviously not useful for medicine or industry where a centimeter shift in the position of a placed object could mean the death of a patient or the failure of a vehicle component,” Sha pointed out. “So, what we have created is an SDK that we call Zeta that allows a highly accurate alignment between the virtual and real worlds with only sub-millimeter errors.”
The solution that they developed from scratch is easy-to-use and compatible across different platforms. Its high accuracy is valuable in industries where precision is essential.
Positive impact on people’s lives
“We are very proud about being able to get closer to our ultimate goal, which is to unlock the great potential that AR has in improving many fields that can really impact the lives of many people,” said Amich.
A surgeon could be supported through an AR-based interface that enables them to view medical images overlaid on top of the patient, highlighting targets of interest and reducing the complexity of using the medical images for guidance.
“Improvements in guidance can really accelerate many of those procedures and improve their quality,” Amich stressed. “It has an immediate impact on the surgeon’s performance and thus the safety of the patient.”
“We began our startup when we were juniors in college. Watching it grow seeing the interest of investors and users in what we’ve developed and now being able to work fulltime on it has been rewarding for us”, Sha explained.
Founders, be persistent!
“As a founder you must be persistent. Working on your own startup can be like a roller coaster – lots of changes happen very quickly. You need to believe in your product. It should really make a difference and fulfill the needs of its users. Persistence is essential to building the right contacts, both in a large company as well as in your network,” Amich said.
Ambitious growth plans
Amich and Sha are excited to continue growing their business. As their SDK is easily scalable and does not require government approval, they are able to quickly move forward with multiple opportunities – currently, they are closing deals with several customers in the USA, Europe and Asia, and starting several trials with research partners. Germany is also in their focus, where Z Imaging is currently cooperating with Digital Hub Chemistry & Health.