Spinout co-founded by WIMM computational biologist launches new software
In the summer of 2014, Steve Taylor (Head of the Computational Biology Research Group at the MRC WIMM) was awarded £27,000 by the Oxford Invention Fund to build Zegami, a high throughput image analysis tool.
Last month, after sourcing funding from additional investors including Parkwalk Advisors and Oxford Sciences Innovation, the spinout company created in February 2016 to develop the software launched the product for the first time. Zegami allows users to manage and manipulate tens of thousands of images simultaneously, and can be used to search, sort, filter or group objects in real time.
Taylor said: “Using Zegami we’re able to make sense of the vast collections of image data and its associated metadata, which is key to our research in ways which were previously impossible. The ability to use multiple parameters to search, sort and group images is invaluable for picking previously unseen patterns or characteristics in the image datasets.”
Sam Conway and Roger Noble of Coritsu Group who developed the software will join Zegami as CEO and CTO respectively. Conway said: “We’ve designed a toolset to allow people who are managing image-rich data sets or large image libraries to turn their information into knowledge in a visual way – not only to find the “needle in a haystack”, but also to visually identify trends and patterns.”
One example of how the Zegami software can be used to effectively and efficiently analyse large image-based datasets is illustrated in this video from the Plant Accelerator at the Australian Plants Phenomics Facility at the University of Adelaide. Here, Zegami has been utilized to intuitively search, sort, filter, group and analyse thousands of images of wheat plants grown under controlled, variable conditions (e.g. restricted nitrogen).
Isis Innovation Deputy Head of Technology Transfer Fred Kemp said: “Gaining insights from image data is something which academic groups and companies across the world grapple with daily. Using Zegami transforms the experience from time consuming and frustrating to pleasant and enlightening.”
You can read more about how Zegami was developed in this blog.