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Brainlab levels up surgical software with acquisition of video game for physicians

Level Ex makes games to help interventional cardiologists and other specialists brush up on their skills. Photo credit: Level Ex

With Akili’s recent FDA clearance, healthcare video games have been making headlines. A Munich-based medical technology company recently acquired a different kind of game — one designed to help physicians brush up on their decision-making skills.

Brainlab acquired Level Ex at the end of May for an undisclosed amount. The startup will become a subsidiary of Brainlab, with its 105 employees continuing to work out of its offices in downtown Chicago. It will keep its name and management team.

Level Ex was founded in 2015 by Sam Glassenberg, a video game developer who was tasked by his father, an anesthesiologist, to create a game that would help train his colleagues on how to do a difficult procedure.  To date, it has raised $ 17.2 million in funding, according to Crunchbase. It has released four product lines for gastroenterologists, pulmonologists, interventional cardiologists, and anesthesiologists and airway specialists.

More recently, Level Ex released several Covid-19 patient scenarios. The company says more than 600,000 medical professionals use its products.

“We began working with Level Ex in 2019 for several reasons,” Brainlab CEO Stefan Vilsmeier said in a news release. “They are the best at disseminating best practices through video games, and they are unrivaled in their level of ergonomic user interaction, gaming-industry-quality 3D graphics, precise physics models and game mechanics psychology.”

Munich-based Brainlab makes software to help surgeons plan and navigate procedures. The company plans to integrate Level Ex’s games with its 3D Viewer software, an augmented reality tool used to review patient images prior to a surgery and for medical education. It will also be used as a virtual sales tool for Brainlab’s ExacTrac X-Ray patient position and monitoring system.

With the acquisition, Level Ex will expand its team. It plans to release games for dermatology, orthopedics and oncology in the next year.

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