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WVU start-up company debuts syGlass at Society for Neuroscience annual meeting

Faculty, staff, and students represent WVU start-up company as it debuts syGlass, a novel scientific visualization tool, at Society for Neuroscience meeting in San Diego

December 6th, 2016, W.Va. - For the past year, IstoVisio, Inc., a new start-up company out of West Virginia University, has been working on ways to enhance the way scientists visualize their data, much of which is microscopic and very complex. Their solution – a novel 3D immersive virtual reality visualization system called syGlass – debuted at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego in November, to an overwhelmingly positive response.

syGlass booth

The booth itself was simple – two plain tables and chairs, intended for demonstrations for passersby, and an 8-ft banner with an intriguing yet mysterious logo. A team of six syGlass representatives worked the crowd in shifts, enticing interested attendees to put on a headset and step into the virtual environment. Despite the seemingly basic booth, the real magic waited inside – and over 200 people were able to experience it.

“Since I’ve never been to SfN before, I was pretty worried about our competition in the VR realm, as well as what kind of reception syGlass would receive,” said Michael Morehead, one of the three co-founders of IstoVisio, and a computer science graduate student at WVU. “However, after only half a day, it was very clear that syGlass was a winner. People were extremely enthusiastic about it.”

Considering the difficulties in viewing the complicated details of cellular data on a two-dimensional surface such as a computer screen, the founders of IstoVisio set out visualize this sort of data as it was intended – in stereoscopic vision. What started out as an immobile panel of six 3D flat screen TVs has evolved into a portable visualization system that interfaces directly with head-mounted displays like the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive.  

One of the main goals for debuting syGlass at the Society for Neuroscience meeting was to demo the product to as many people as possible in order to learn about what features potential users wanted it to have. “We sort of already knew what syGlass was missing,” said Morehead, “ but the feedback we received from SfN validated our suggestions on what direction to head next.”

syGlass creates a buzz

IstoVisio intends to hold a closed beta testing of syGlass before bringing the product to market. Interested parties can apply for the private program on the syGlass website ( If selected, participants are expected to provide detailed feedback on their experience with syGlass, as well as any recommendations they have to enhance the product for future users.

In addition to Morehead, IstoVisio’s co-founders are Dr. George Spirou, professor of otolaryngology and co-director of the WVU Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute; and Dr. Gianfranco Doretto, an associate professor of computer science at West Virginia University. The company operates in the WVU Health Sciences Innovation Center business incubator in Morgantown, WV. 

syGlass team


CONTACT: Erica Stewart, MBA; IstoVisio, Inc.; 

Check daily for the latest news about syGlass. 

Follow @IstoVisio on Twitter.