Image-based computer modelling solutions

University of Exeter spin-out company Simpleware has generated significant economic impact from its 3D imaging software.

Founded by Professor Philippe Young in 2000, the company’s software bridges the gap between 3D imaging data, computer-aided design (CAD) and simulation technologies. It now has more than 1,000 users. Revenue grew approximately 600 per cent between 2008 and 2013.

Simpleware won a number of awards along the way. Consecutive Queen’s Awards for Enterprise came in 2012 and 2013. These recognised the company’s efforts in innovation and growing the company overseas. It now has offices in the US and Germany.


PraxisUnico, an organisation set up to support innovation and commercialisation of public sector and charity research, gave Simpleware its Business Impact – Aspiring Award in 2012. This recognises projects that have made an outstanding business impact.

The Institute of Physics (IOP) recognised the company with an Innovation Award in 2013. This was for the development and commercialisation of the company’s software, with significant benefits for aerospace, engineering and medical technology.

Professor Sir Peter Knight, President of IOP at the time, said: "Simpleware's software has taken computer-aided engineering into a new age. It is particularly exciting to see this kind of software being used in new realms, including a wide range of products that interact with the human body. We might all have reason to be thanking Simpleware for a more comfortable existence before too long."

The company has also made an impact by providing employment for skilled graduates, and sponsoring applied PhD studentships.


Simpleware’s roots came from Professor Young’s research into computer simulations. He explained: “We were looking at the response of the human body to impact using computer simulation tools. But we found that although computer modelling was established in aerodynamics, for example, there wasn’t really anything for the purpose of modelling impact on the human body.”

Professor Young began looking at magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) techniques for building accurate, sophisticated models to simulate impact. The company was created to market the technology developed from this work.

Simpleware won the Enterprise Award at the 2013 Exeter Impact Awards.