Applied Industrial Optics Day 2
By Cushla McGoverin
Out of the box would be the way to describe day 2 of the Imaging and Applied Optics Congress. The day began with Jason Eichenholz (Luminar Technologies, USA) describing optics in autonomous vehicles and the technology Luminar are producing that they hope will be the disruptor technology that will stimulate an improved rate of safety enhancement in autonomous vehicles.
The first session of the day for the Applied Industrial Optics meeting, “Keynote and Laser Sorcery” had speakers representing the continuum of optics companies from a young start-up optimising their initial product, to a company partnered with Edmund Optics and a company who has recently sold to IPG Photonics. E. Hooman Banaei (Everix Optical Filters, USA) used the location appropriate metaphor of a rollercoaster to describe his entrepreneurial journey so far. Hooman discussed his philosophy that to be an entrepreneur you need to be PRETI:
Passionate – if you aren’t passionate about your product how can you expect others to be
Resilient – a lot will go wrong, you need to bounce back
Ego-free – you need to listen to feedback without bias
Tolerant of risk and pain – many start-ups fail in the first two years because people just give up
Insane – in a positive sense, you will make many decisions that you can’t justify in a rational way
Vadim Smirnov (OptiGrate, USA) altered the beginning of his talk to reflect ideas presented by Hooman and described the OptiGrate journey making volume Bragg gratings from photo-thermo-refractive glass. Chris Hessenius (Univ. of Arizona & TPhotonics, USA) described and demonstrated the versatile VECSEL technology TPhotonics are using to produce a wide range of laser products.
“Fiber Sensory Overload” was a fitting title for the second session of the day considering the first talk by Patrick (Hon Man) Chan (NASA Armstrong Flight Research, USA) talked about NASA Armstrong’s next generation of fiber optics sensing system can have up to 1000 fiber Bragg grating can be multiplexed onto a single fiber. Sergio Fraga (AIMEN, Spain) introduced a laser cladding process for adhering fibers to metallic surfaces. John W. Berthold (Davidson Instruments, Inc., USA) discussed pressure pulsation transducers comprised of Fabry-Perot and Fizeau interferometers that are used to monitor combustors in gas turbine engines and the importance of designing components for abuse in service.
The afternoon saw the AIO group discuss the intersection of academia and industry; first with a talk from Dominik Rabus (RABUS TECH, Germany) and then a panel discussion over food and drinks. Dominik, Cather Simpson (The Photon Factory, Univ. of Auckland, New Zealand) and Adam Wax (Lumedica, USA) were the on panel. The value and difficulties of crossing the academia-industry divide were thoroughly discussed. It became very clear that each country has its own way of facilitating, or not facilitating, industry-academia relationships, and it was generally agreed that for successful industry-academia collaboration there must be individuals involved that can bridge both worlds and understand the philosophies of each.