Member News - March 2019

Industry Member News

11 March, 2019


Read about AI and Optical Sensors, U.S. Life Science Funding for New AR/VR Tools, Advocacy, Special Events, New Reports and Other Noteworthy News, Opinions and Opportunities

OSA Corporate Member Newsletter


In this Issue:

AI and Optical Sensors

OIDA wrote in the December 2017 OIDA newsletter and last July/August in OSA's Optics & Photonics News about the overlap of artificial intelligence (AI) and optics. It's not very different from human biology: the retina performs some image processing where the image is captured, and the cerebral cortex (the grey matter) does the rest, with the optic nerve and the brain's white matter providing interconnections. In machine intelligence, the optical sensor may perform some AI-centric processing, while optical interconnects carry information to the cloud and within data centers, where much of the higher level processing can be done. The AI-ready optical sensor can reduce the data uploaded to the central processor, just as the retina reduces that load to the brain through the optic nerve.

In machine intelligence, the uploaded information need not be digital, it might be multilevel or even analog. For example, startup AI Storm is developing a local processor that operates on analog data to save on processing speed and power. Meanwhile, Adobe announced a post-process AI-informed algorithm for demosaicing raw digital images that operates after the image is captured. Demosaicing is a way to reconstruct via software an incomplete image that results from the use of color filter arrays in cameras. Adobe claims to have trained its algorithm using over a billion examples.

Illustration by Phil Saunders.


The most intriguing, and speculative, application of optics to AI would be for the elusive optics-enabled processor, analogous to the human cortex. Several companies are aiming for such a solution using integrated photonics, including its use for room-temperature quantum computer circuits. Some examples are PsiQuantum, Lightelligence, Lightmatter (with recent funding from GV, formerly Google Ventures), and newly-launched QuiX.

Meanwhile, AI is getting a lot of attention in the media and government funding agencies. U.S. President Trump signed an executive order launching the American Artificial Intelligence (AI) Initiative on 11 February 2019, but without specifying new funding or how it would put new policies into effect (see here). This new initiative likely pales in comparison to the AI research funded by companies like Alphabet (Google), Amazon, Apple, Facebook, IBM and Microsoft in the U.S. And China may be outspending the U.S., from companies like Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent.

Kai-Fu Lee of Sinovation Ventures says (here) that as the AI field shifts from discovery to implementation, the U.S. and China have two distinct approaches to solving its problems. If the solution lies in its core algorithms, then the advantage goes to the U.S., where it's encouraged to "think different." If the key is in implementation of AI into the field, then the advantage goes to China, where there is less inhibition to imitate successful business models or features, and greater willingness by the government to adapt policies and infrastructure to the new technology.


U.S. Life Science Funding for New AR/VR Tools

OIDA reports in the February OIDA Market Update that the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) invested over US$ 376 million in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) projects spanning fiscal years 2013 to 2018. This is based on OIDA's review of research funded by NIH in selected optics and photonics topics.

Most of the funding (US$ 311 million) went to VR projects, spread over a mix of mostly universities and small businesses. NIH funded over US$ 65 million in AR projects, with most of the early grants going to small businesses. Many of the small-business projects focused on medical training applications. One SBIR grant opportunity announced earlier this year is to develop and evaluate VR technologies to support substance use disorders, or treatment alternatives for chronic pain (see here).

Source: OIDA (2019), from NIH RePORTER database.


The February issue of the OIDA Market Update identifies the companies receiving funding. The section also examines NIH funding for spectroscopy and hyperspectral imaging, optogenetics, OCT, adaptive optics, photoacoustic imaging and holography. OIDA members can download the February OIDA Market Update here.


Update on OIDA Advocacy for Optics and Photonics

OIDA and OSA continue to be busy advocating for optics and photonics to key policymakers. Our efforts are directed at policymakers in the U.S. and Europe, as well as Canada, Mexico and many more countries.

U.S. congressional visits. The Optical Society, along with its National Photonics Initiative (NPI) partners, will co-host the 2019 Capitol Hill Day in Washington DC on 2-3 April. This is an important opportunity for U.S. members to advocate for optics-related issues before congressional members and staff. Members report that the experience is also personally rewarding. Another great way to have an impact is to invite your local member of Congress to visit your company's facility. These visits are important because they give Congress a tangible sense of the jobs created and the issues surrounding optics manufacturing and employment today. OSA will work with you throughout the process and make it easy for you. If you would like to visit a congressional office or host a member of Congress at your company's facility, please contact Brandy Dillingham.

Multi-society coalitions. OSA signs onto many multi-society letters of interest. These coordinated efforts, which are often directed "behind the scenes," have a louder voice than any one society or trade association. Recent letters signed by OSA include: a multi-association letter led by EPIC supporting continued photonics funding within Horizon Europe; a multi-society letter to the U.S. President calling attention to the harm to U.S. science from the partial shutdown of the federal government (11 February 2019, following a letter from OSA on 3 January 2019); a multi-society letter to the U.S. Department of Education expressing concerns with proposed rule changes to Title X regulations (31 January 2019); letters from OSA and the NPI to the U.S. Department of Commerce on controls for emerging technologies (11 January 2019) and an endorsement of legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on combatting sexual harassment in science (9 January 2019). And that's just for 2019—OSA and the NPI successfully advocated for the National Quantum Initiative Act, signed by President Trump on 21 December 2018, and there was much more related to science funding, visas, and appointments from 2018.

Public awareness. Last year, OSA presented its annual Advocate for Optics award to Carol Monaghan, UK Member of Parliament from Scotland, for supporting optics and photonics in the UK House of Commons. OSA and OSA student chapters around the world will once again celebrate the International Day of Light on 16 May. OSA is a founding member of the International Day of Light steering committee.

And that's not all! See also our updates in past issues of the OIDA newsletter, covering EU rules on indium phosphide safety, Photonics21, the Mexican Photonics Initiative, the U.S. National Quantum Initiative, export issues and foreign ownership and more. For more information on our advocacy efforts, and how to get involved, see here or contact David Lang.


Welcome New OIDA Members











Member Benefit of the Month: Marketing

OIDA Members receive 5,000 names free from OSA's membership database for print mailing (additional names are available for purchase). In addition, members are included in a searchable company profile in the online OIDA directory.

With an OIDA membership, everyone in your company has access to premium benefits that will fuel success and establish connections with OSA's customers worldwide. Take advantage of your OIDA member benefits! Not a member? Contact or call +1.202.416.1474


Download Presentation from OIDA's Market Update Dinner

OIDA held their first Market Update Dinner of 2019 on 5 February at Photonics West. The Dinner was had a record turnout, with Dr. Tom Hausken delivering an impactful market update presentation to 55 industry executives. The purpose of this dinner was to engage current OIDA members as well as cultivate prospects interested in OIDA membership.

Download the Presentation Now

OSA Senior Industry Advisor, Dr. Tom Hausken presenting an overview of the 2018 photonics market and
what to expect in 2019 and beyond.



New Market Update Report is Now Available to OIDA Members

Highlights in this OIDA Market Update:

  1. Optical communications market: This update covers Ovum's latest forecasts for optical line-side devices, 5G support and equipment, silicon photonics and the optical components markets.
  2. Optics trends at the NIH: This update reviews trends in optics funding by various institutes within the U.S. National Institutes of Health from 2013 to 2018.

Read the Report Now


Mark Your Calendar: Optics is in the Driver's Seat at New OIDA Forum on Optics in Autonomy
27 June, San Jose, California, USA

Join experts from leading companies and learn effective best practices, create new solutions for common industry challenges and gain the connections and technical education you need to drive your company—and your career—forward in the evolving autonomous vehicles market.

This event will cover all the hottest topics in sensing transport applications.

  • What is needed from the photonics industry? Which are the problems that optics and photonics can have the greatest impact on?
  • What are the enabling technologies that have the most promise?
  • What are the bottlenecks or "showstoppers" among photonics technologies today, and potential solutions?

OIDA's Forum on Optics in Autonomy will be held in conjunction with the OSA Optical Sensors and Sensing Congress and the Sensors Expo & Conference, which is the largest gathering of engineers and engineering professionals involved in sensors and sensing-related technologies. More than 6,400 professionals will gather from across the nation and 40+ countries to explore today's sensor technologies and find the solutions to tomorrow's sensing challenges. The 2019 Sensors Expo & Conference will host 300+ exhibitors on the Expo Floor, leading experts from the industry in the most comprehensive sensor-focused conference program and unparalleled event features and networking opportunities. (There is an additional registration fee for the Sensors Conference technical program and for the OSA Optical Sensors and Sensing Congress.)

Learn more about the OIDA Forum on Optics in Autonomy.


Laser Applications Conference (LAC) is Now Accepting Contributed Submissions for Poster Presentations
29 September — 2 October, Austria Center Vienna, Vienna, Austria

This 3-day meeting focuses on two main topic areas — Materials Processing and Applications for High Power Lasers. At LAC, you'll be immersed in an innovative learning environment that introduces new, groundbreaking information, offers insightful knowledge, showcases cutting-edge products, and engages your active participation in important debates and discussions.


David Mordaunt,
Ball Aerospace &
Technologies, United States,
Program Chair

Yuji Sano,
Japan Science and
Technology Agency, Japan
Program Chair

Johannes Trbola,
Dausinger + Giesen
GmbH, Germany
Program Chair

View the submission categories and submit by 12 June. Exhibit space is also available. Learn more and download the exhibitor prospectus


Advocate for Optics and Photonics — Participate in Congressional Visits Day, April 2-3, 2019

Advocate for optics and photonics directly to your U.S. Congressional offices by joining OSA and its National Photonics Initiative (NPI) partners for the annual Congressional Visits Day in Washington, D.C. on 2-3 April 2019. Your company and its employees are constituents, so speaking to Members of Congress and their staff is an important and effective means of explaining to policymakers why optics and photonics should be supported and how your company contributes.

Congressional Visits Day will focus on support for R&D funding, related initiatives like the National Quantum Initiative, and other legislation relevant to optics and photonics. Specific topics for the 2019 visits will be sent to participants as the date approaches.

Participants will join a mandatory training session on the afternoon of 2 April. All Congressional meetings will take place on 3 April.

NPI staff will arrange all Congressional meetings and provide participants with training and communications ("leave-behind") documents. Participants will be placed in teams led by a society staff member from one of the sponsoring societies or an experienced Congressional Visits Day participant.

Sign up to participate and learn more at the NPI website. Contact Brandy Dillingham ( if you have any questions.


OFC Public Relations Recap

We hope you had a successful OFC 2019 and that you took advantage of the show's free PR opportunities. This year, we had an impressive show with more than 700 exhibitors from 65 countries. Don't wait to start your OFC 2020 planning early! The OFC PR Team will begin its series of Exhibitor PR Newsletters in late 2019. Make sure that you register your PR/Marketing contacts to receive important information about PR programs and deadlines. We're here to help; please contact the OFC PR Team with any questions you might have.


Invitation to Join the Optics and Photonics Industry LinkedIn Group

Join 3,000+ of your colleagues in our Optics & Photonics Industry Network LinkedIn Group. This one-of-a-kind Forum for Industry lets you participate in discussions about cutting-edge issues. Extend your professional network. Exchange information about problems, ideas and solutions. Collaborate with experts in your field. Now is the perfect time to build a relationship with fellow optics and photonics professionals!


Link Now...



OIDA (OSA Industry Development Associates) Council
Thank you to the volunteers who oversee the programs and services available to the Industry Community.

 • Claudio Mazzali,
    Corning Research &
    Development Corp, Chair

 • Simin Cai,
    Go!Foton, Chair Elect

• John Dexheimer,
    LightWave Advisors, Inc.

• Turan Erdogan,
    Plymouth Grating
    Laboratory, Inc.

 • Amy Eskilson,
    Inrad Optics

 • Christoph S. Harder,

 • Inge Kabert,
    Thorlabs Inc.

 • Frederick J. Leonberger,
    EOvation Advisors LLC

 • Debbie Wilson,
    Lumentum Operations Inc.





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