HOLOXICA, the Edinburgh-based holographic imaging specialist, has secured £1 million funding from the European Commission to help develop its pioneering medical imaging technology.

The funds will be used to further develop the company’s ‘motion holographic video displays’, which produce live 3D images floating in mid-air and allow clinicians to 'touch' icons in space and do things like draw in mid-air.

“In terms of benefits, it will lead to fewer mistakes in diagnostics,” explained Holoxica chief executive and founder Javid Khan. “It’ll mean quicker interpretation of scans for diagnostics and faster, as well as better quality, surgery in terms of stitching, incisions and navigating through the body.

Current solutions to viewing 3D images using glasses or optical tricks are too clumsy and lead to problems like motion sickness and disorientation, the company said.

Holoxica will use the funding to build a prototype holographic video display for use in CT, MRI and ultrasound scanning, which currently only generate images as a series of 2D ‘slices’ scanned through the body using radiation. Mr Khan said the only other organisation developing this technology was the military, including the US Airforce and US Department of Defense’s research arm.

The €1.28m funding was awarded by the European Commission’s Horizon2020 SME Instrument, the largest ever European Union research and innovation funding programme. The €740m initiative is designed to aid job creation and growth for small businesses involved in cutting edge research and innovation.

Holoxica will carry out initial testing of the holographic video display prototype at Kings College, London; Guys and St Thomas’s Hospital, London and the Clinical Research Imaging Centre at the University of Edinburgh. Siemens Healthcare, the largest provider of medical equipment in Europe, is keen to trial the technology once it is ready for clinical use.

The company is seeking a further £1m investment from business angels and venture capitalists to transform the prototype into a product that can be used in a clinical setting.