Ipix, a pioneering imaging company that offered tools for online virtual tours of homes, has filed for bankruptcy.

The company, created in 1986 by engineers from a federal research lab in Tennessee, rode the dot-com rollercoaster and was slammed by the tech crash.

The company’s 360-degree virtual tour technology won favor in the real estate industry, and as of 2000 Ipix had relationships with major real estate Web sites including Homestore.com (now Move.com), Realtor.com, Yahoo! Real Estate and Homes.com.

In more recent years the company had banked on the use of its imaging technology for the security sector.

On July 31 the company filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court’s Eastern District of Virginia. “In connection with the filing, the company has ceased all business operations,” according to a company filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. “The company determined that it does not have sufficient resources to continue its operations and has been unable to secure additional financing required to fund its operating activities.”

An Ipix spokeswoman could not be reached for comment.

Nasdaq halted trading in Ipix Corp. stock on July 28 — the stock had fallen to 50 cents per share. The company’s ipix.com Web site is offline.

Some real estate tech companies pounced on the opportunity to promote their products and services upon the Ipix bankruptcy announcement.

Studio360 Inc. issued a release earlier this month stating that “a number of clients, customers and general Internet surfers will be affected when attempting to view or create Ipix virtual tours,” and asking consumers to “contact us if you need help in converting your Ipix 360 Virtual Tours to a stable software platform.”

Another virtual tour company, Real Tour Vision, announced this month that “it will be offering help to Ipix virtual tour customers in order to let them continue to offer virtual tours to end users,” and will offer former Ipix customers “the opportunity to convert virtual tour content that had been created using Ipix technology, as well as offering special pricing … to create new 360-degree panoramic virtual tour images using Real Tour Vision technology.”

Ipix’s Interactive Studio 1.4 panoramic imaging product, announced in May 2005, integrated a photo-stitching technology from a company called iseemedia, based in Toronto. The Interactive Studio product has been used in the real estate industry to create virtual tour images that accompany online property listings information.

Steve Marques, president of RealBiz360, an iseemedia company, said today that the Ipix bankruptcy announcement has affected the company “in a unique way.” Iseemedia had licensed its photo-stitching technology to Ipix through an agreement last year. Now, RealBiz360 will sell its technology, called PhotoVista, through its own distribution channels, he said. The company will work to serve Ipix customers and hardware, he said.

“We’re trying to offer a solution that means you don’t have to do much to change. We’re just trying to make it easy for (Ipix customers),” he said.

Ipix grew in a big way through a merger by Internet Pictures Corp. with rival imaging company bamboo.com in 1999. In 2000, the company announced that it had sold about 200,000 virtual tours to Realtors and realty franchises.

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