Veteran video game developer Sam Glassenberg stumbled onto an accidental gold mine just trying to help his anesthesiologist father.
Glassenberg, who calls himself the "black sheep" game developer in a family of physicians, used to putter around making medical simulations on request, and coincidentally found, or confirmed, a tremendous pent-up demand among clinicians for realistic training content.
"A couple years ago my Dad asked me to build him a simulation for his residents, and I threw it in the (Apple) App Store, basically because I didn't want to have to load it onto their iPads individually, and I didn't think about it again," Glassenberg said. "The next time I checked, it had an audience of 100,000 users. Efficacy studies showed it improved performance. Stanford Medical School pre-loaded it on their iPads. It got completely out of hand."
Given the evidence that his favor for his father actually had worldwide appeal, he founded Level EX in 2015 to bring the skills he brought to bear as an Emmy-winning game developer to medical training. The Chicago-based company just launched its first production app, Airway EX, which simulates airway surgeries recreated from real patient cases; it features elements such as nosebleeds, mucus secretion, and coughing spasms. When a user makes a mistake, the "body" on the screen lets them know it.