Imaging and Applied Optics Congress

11 July 2022 – 15 July 2022
Hybrid Event - Pacific Daylight/Summer Time (UTC - 07:00)

Hyatt Regency Vancouver
Vancouver, British Columbia Canada

The 2022 Innovation Challenge

Smart Cities Application for the Imaging and Applied Optics Congress


Submission Deadline*
01 June 2022 17:00 EDT (UTC-04:00)

Smart cities bring together infrastructure and technology. By incorporating technology into the urban environment, the performance and interactions of services such as energy, transportation, communications, and utilities are better integrated and more effectively used.  As a result, the quality of life of citizens is improved.  Optics and Photonics has a critical role to play in smart cities! 

In this Innovation Challenge, you have the opportunity to envision new areas where optics can be an enabling technology in a smart city.  Currently, Optics and Photonics provides technologies for smart cities to enable internet-of-things (IoT), efficient maintenance of infrastructure, autonomous systems, safety, health monitoring, connectivity, etc.  Sensors, LIDAR, and communications are critical to supporting these.  Where else can optics be utilized in an integrated smart city?  Are there disruptive innovations in imaging that can change the way optics is currently being used for smart cities?  Help define the future of optics in smart cities!

Submissions must:

  • Identify a technical, social or economic problem that currently exists in smart cities that can be solved by or in part by an optical imaging solution.
  • Identify the steps needed to implement the solution.
  • Identify the clear differentiators that sets your solution apart from others (why this solution vs others).

Judging Criteria:

  • Compliance: is the idea submission complete and does it comply with the rules of the challenge?
  • Novelty: does the idea describe a novel approach to providing a solution?
  • Originality: how original is the proposed technology or use of existing technology?
  • Relevance: How well does the idea relate to the topic and provide a solution aligned with the goals of this challenge?
  • Feasibility: how likely can the idea be prototyped?

What is the Innovation Challenge?

This program seeks to explore trends, opportunities, disruptions and major shifts potentially enabled by optics and photonics. Challenge submissions should highlight innovative solutions to topic specific challenges.

Who Can Participate?

Open to students and their advisors and early-career professionals. Optica defines early-career professionals as those within five years of leaving academic study and starting a full-time career.

Submission Details

Individuals or teams are invited to submit concepts based on the unique challenge in the form of a 50- to 100‐word description and accompanying visuals. Highly-recommended supplements include a  3-minute video presentation (provided via YouTube link) and a summary slide. Additional materials can include additional videos, pictures, charts, graphs, system mock-ups or demos highlighting the novelty, originality and feasibility of the concept.

Submissions are evaluated by a committee of congress leadership with four finalists: two students and two early-career professionals. Finalists are selected to attend the meeting and present a 3‐minute synopsis of their concept during a general session. They also host a visual demonstration during a conference poster session. One representative from each of the four finalists will receive a travel stipend to cover airfare, hotel and registration.

Winners Receive....

Two winners, one student and one early-career professional, are chosen based on popular vote and announced on‐site at the end of the congress. Winners receive a 3-year Optica Membership.

For questions, please contact

Confirm career status for challenge delineation:


Supporting Documentation

Upload concepts/solutions and up to 5 accompanying visuals using the format 'Lastname_Firstname_FILE-DESCRIPTION'. Please combine files as appropriate and possible.

Highly recommended forms of accompanying visuals include: 3-minute video presentation and a summary slide; additional materials can include: videos, pictures, charts, graphs, system mock-ups or demos) highlighting the novelty, originality and feasibility of the concept.

Accepted File Types: PDF, MS Word (doc, docx), PowerPoint (ppt, pptx), Excel (xls, xlsx, xlsm) or a video posted on YouTube. Videos should not be uploaded using the 'Upload' buttons. Videos posted on YouTube can be set to Unlisted or Public. Do not set the privacy setting to Private.

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