Remember the classic movie The Fantastic Voyage? The film is a sci-fi tale of a submarine crew who shrinks to microscopic size and ventures into the body of an injured scientist to repair damage to his brain. The movie was the first of its kind in terms of special effects and animation used to mimic the inner workings of the human body.
During my interview with CEO Lawrence Kiey and CTO Jeff Hazelton (two of three Co-Founders) of BioLucid, a company specializing in health visualization technologies with their comprehensive platform called YOU™, I was reminded of that classic adventure movie – but this is no science fiction. Here’s what you need to know about Biolucid’s objectives, history and how their groundbreaking visual health-tech platform is currently changing the global healthcare conversation.
Lawrence Kiey, CEO Jeff Hazelton, CTO Dale Parks, CSO
BioLucid’s mission: nothing short of game changing with a very clear purpose to help improve patient lives. Their vision is to personalize and improve the overall health experience for both healthcare providers and consumers through their 3D graphical platform and virtual reality. The global market for augmented reality and virtual reality in the healthcare industry is expected to grow from $1.2 Billion in 2014 to around $2.54 Billion in 2020, according to IndustryARC. Based upon BioLucid’s vision, their expanding YOU™ platforms, and VR capabilities, this disruptive technology can truly improve lives, is a formidable player in the digital health industry, and is worth investigating.
So off I went, searching for a modern-day “Fantastic Voyage.” But what I didn’t expect as I entered BioLucid’s office, was the immediate sensation of a deeper movement taking place within this space. Maybe it was the mesmerizing large-scale 3D artwork of floating human organs gracing the waiting area walls (created by Jeff Hazelton), but there was something different here and it was palpable.
From A $10 Pizza To The Genesis of Biolucid
While interviewing two of the three (Dale Park, CSO) Co-Founders about BioLucid’s immersive tech products and future vision – I realized the “palpable moment” I felt was spot-on. The late Steve Jobs once stated, “some of the greatest innovations of the 21st century would take place at the intersection of biology and technology.” And here I was, sitting smack dab in the middle of two such innovators backed by a team of scientists, programmers and visual graphic artists all making history within this visual-tech healthcare frontier.
VS: Describe how BioLucid began.
LK (Lawrence Kiey): We all [BioLucid’s Co-Founders] grew up in the healthcare space, but come with different lenses. Through our different experiences, we keep each other honest in this area because we have a strong background in each of our individual spaces, which helps shape our product and vision. I come with 15 plus years experience in the big pharma healthcare lens in all different business capacities, from carrying the sales rep bag all the way to training and marketing people in sales and global operations. Then there’s Dale Parks, with a more scientific lens as a molecular biologist. And finally, there’s Jeff Hazelton with the art and technology background combined with biology, or as he calls it, “Premed gone bad.”
VS: (To Jeff Hazelton) Tell me more about the “pre-med gone bad” portion of your life?
JH: After initially studying biology and then an artistically inspired 2 year sailing trip around the world, I had this realization that I truly loved computer animation and that artists could use these new powerful digital tools to affect patients’ understanding of their own health. I decided I wanted to make healthcare visual so that patients could be active in their own prevention and treatment of disease.
As our talks continued, Hazelton went on to say that he took his inspiration and formed his own company. By connecting hard science and data with 3D visual graphics, apps, and games, he developed products to help healthcare professionals better communicate with their patients. As time went on and through various connections in the industry, the three co-founders finally met and realized that their independent visions about making health more visual, and the impact it could have across multiple platforms, would best be created together. And finally, in 2011 – over a $10 pizza lunch – they started BioLucid.
What’s BioLucid’s Success? A Brilliant Team With Vision, YOU™ and… A Little Magic Sauce
During their initial years together, the three founders realized that what they were doing, no other digital healthcare company were able to achieve with the same level of experience. They found, as Kiey explained, “Blending science and technology and making it relevant is no easy task, but we have found a way to do that and have a real tangible impact on the health conversation.” And over the last three years, the team perfected their approach into an interactive health tech platform called YOU™.
YOU™ is a revolutionary way for everyone to explore the human body and understand health. This new platform makes health visual with stunning 3D graphical environments and virtual reality. YOU™ is a humanitarian technology and an ongoing medical initiative with a single mission – to improve quality of care by making health visual, relevant, and memorable. In collaboration with BioLucid, the development of YOU™ is supported by a growing community of medical professionals. Roll out of this technology is expected in 2016, with plans to build even more content over time.
YOU™ In Motion
Kiey casually took out an iPad and demonstrated the YOU™ platform (still in Beta). The organ graphics and procedural detail were some of the most breathtaking 3D effects I’ve ever witnessed, and rightly so. The company has a proud history of hiring graduates from the Ringling College of Art + Design (down the road from Biolucid’s HQ). The college produces some of the best artists in the world, which end up working for famous companies such as Pixar, Sony Pictures and DreamWorks – just to name a few.
VS: (To Kiey) Tell me more about how the YOU™ platform creates better communication between the doctor/healthcare professional and their patient?
LK: Typically, as a healthcare professional explains the patient’s condition and need for treatment, the patients often get lost in the discussion and therefore are not fully compliant with the treatment protocol. Our platform helps bridge the communication gap that happens in these situations ultimately improving patient understanding and accountability to their health. It tells YOUR story, making it personal and powerful.
With a swipe of a finger on his iPad, Kiey also showed me how YOU™ uses precise medical 3D graphics to help doctors, scientists, health educators and anyone in the healthcare community visually explain diseases such as COPD or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.
VS: How can this technology change today’s healthcare conversation?
LK: This experience is powerful. Not only does the patient see what happens if they continue smoking, but they can also see the reversal of the damage if they quit. It’s powerful for both the patient and the doctor. Through the three-dimensional immersive experience, patients are better educated about the diseases they have, increasing the level of understanding to what’s happening inside their bodies. And hopefully, this knowledge will not only change the way the patient takes care of their health, but also foster a stronger relationship between the patient and their healthcare professional.
YOU™ 3D Virtual Reality and A Childhood Dream Realized
As stated at the beginning of this piece, I referenced the sci-fi movie The Fantastic Voyage. Since viewing the film as a child, I always wanted to travel inside the vast inner workings of the human body. To my delight, Biolucid granted me this wish – visually anyway. Not only is BioLucid’s YOU™ platform mobile, but it also makes health visual through stunning 3D virtual reality using the Oculus Rift (OR) head mounted display (HMD) headgear or the Samsung Gear VR.
Both Kiey and Hazelton walked me through this new beta program developed for all healthcare professionals, educators and patients. Due to non-disclosure agreements, I can’t share everything I witnessed. However, what I can say is: with a few hands swipes, some high powered computers and the VR HMD, I witnessed a highly detailed, elegant, and stunning 360 degree view inside several human organs – down to the cellular level that rendered me speechless. And I can safely say, BioLucid’s YOU™ platform is truly the modern day “Fantastic Voyage.”
Speaking of sci-fi movies, Biolucid’s technology will also be featured by Julie Nimoy, the daughter of the late Star Trek legend Leonard Nimoy, in her upcoming documentary on her famous father’s battle with COPD. The film, COPD: Highly Illogical, showcases the latest advances in the fight against Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, including the high-tech medical imagery from BioLucid that promises to present the audience a spectacular view from inside the body. TheToggle will have exclusive information on the film coming soon.
BioLucid isn’t just creating healthcare visualization products that allow end-users to see a meticulously illustrated blocked artery or life threatening diseases – the company is potentially revolutionizing the way we, as humans and patients, will communicate with the medical community about our own diseases and illnesses. Biolucid’s YOU™ platform will also allow us to actually see inside our bodies, drastically altering our overall view of how our lifestyle choices affect every cell of our body – forever. Healthcare transparency at it’s finest.
For more information on BioLucid, please contact the company via:
A big thank you to Lawrence Kiey and Jeff Hazelton for giving their time to TheToggle for this interview. All photos/video courtesy and sole property of BioLucid.