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2015 Winners

Norman Edmund Inspiration Award

Norman Edmund Inspiration Award — $5,000 in Products
Schepens Eye Research Institute , USA — Submitted by Michael Stahl

Mr. Stahl, who is a visually impaired biomedical engineer, uses his project to show others how innovation can work to overcome personal and professional challenges. He hopes his device, which improves accessibility, mobility and safety, will help to motivate other talented visually impaired professionals and future scientists to develop their own ideas on how optics based products can improve the lives of the visually impaired. “Many devices have been developed to aid the visually impaired, but none are making a large impact on quality of life because they don’t fit into the modern lifestyle,” said Mr. Stahl. “My own experiences have enabled me to develop something that works, is hands-free and does not require unsightly masks or goggles.” He hopes his project will encourage other professionals with or without visual impairments to do the same.



First Place Americas - University of Washington

Gold Award Winner - Americas   Americas — $10,000 in Products

University of Washington, USA — Submitted by Jarred Swalwell

In developing flow cytometers, using filters, laser mirrors, objectives and various mechanics, for marine research with an optical technology that makes it possible to perform continuous flow cytometric analysis on sea water without the need for clean water, measuring roughly 75,000 km of ocean while on board research vessels and container ships. Roughly 50% of atmospheric CO2 is converted to fixed carbon and oxygen via photosynthesis by ocean algae; however, through warming and acidification the environment in which algae thrives is drastically changing. Currently, Swalwell’s device is designed to capture the numbers and types of algae across ocean basins while measuring microbes in remote places without the need for pre-filtration or clean water, through sampling on board ocean vessels. By developing a compact low power version of this instrument, the measurement platform would be extended to include autonomous underwater vehicles, ocean moorings and research buoys. Ideally, this technology will investigate the water quality in poor areas of the world as well as the impact of industrialization on nearby waterways.

First Place Asia - Nagoya University

Gold Award Winner - Asia  Asia — $10,000 (USD) in Products

Nagoya University (名古屋大学), Japan — Submitted by Dr. Masahito Yamanaka

For the development of super resolution 3D imaging technology which uses the high-brightness of rare-earth metals and nanoparticles along with highly nonlinear optical emissions. Dr. Yamanaka’s project uniquely looks deep inside biological samples with the production of customized high contract, low S/N fluorescence imaging system featuring high-end optical filters, cage systems and focus tunable lenses, etc. Using previous super-resolution technology, it was difficult to observe the inside of test samples with a large refractive index because the objects observed were limited to the thickness of one to several cells. It is necessary to have technology that can perform three-dimensional, super-resolution observation of tissue, in order to comprehend the biological behavior toward biological functions and drugs. The outcome of this research will bring a clear understanding of biological activity and will also contribute immensely to regenerative medicine and innovative drug development since we will be able to visualize specific areas and forms within tissue.

First Place Europe - Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

Gold Award Winner - Europe  Europe — €7,000 in Products

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland — Submitted by Ms. Outi Supponen

For research which focuses on the dynamics of collapsing cavitation bubbles. Hydrodynamic cavitation, which is the growth and collapse of vapor bubbles in depressurized liquid zones, is a major source of erosion and vibration damage in many industrial systems. This damage is associated with liquid jets, emitted shockwaves and extremely high core temperatures reached at the last stage of bubble collapse. During Supponen’s research, she has come across many interesting applications for these bubbles, such as needle-free injections, microfluidic pumps, new printing technologies, transportation of medicine and much more. The main purpose of this research however, is to create and observe these bubbles in a highly controlled environment, using high-energy lasers, high-speed cameras as well as spectrometers.

Second Place Americas - Temple University

Silver Award Winner - Americas   Americas — $7,500 in Products

Temple University, USA — Submitted by Vira Oleksyuk

For non-invasive breast cancer diagnostics using a multimodal imaging system which combines tactile and hyperspectral capabilities to discern malignant and benign tumors. Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers for women, with more than 200,000 new cases each year and 40,000 fatalities from the disease. The common diagnostic path for patients is clinical examination, mammography, ultrasound, which is then followed by an invasive biopsy procedure. Oleksyuk’s proposed system uses tactile images, which quantify mechanical properties of tumors, such as size, depth, elastic modulus and mobility. The spectral images reveal biochemical information about the suspicious region. A custom algorithm fuses the information from both tactile and spectral images to suggest the diagnosis. This device, which features a CMOS sensor and traditional coated 700-999nm bandpass filters, can greatly improve breast cancer diagnostic routine in rural areas and developing countries as well.

Second Place Asia - Pohang University of Science and Technology (포항공과대학교)

Silver Award Winner - Asia   Asia — $7,500 (USD) in Products

Pohang University of Science and Technology (포항공과대학교), South Korea — Submitted by Professor Junsuk Rho

For research into the development of a new imaging system for bio samples and nano-size structures imaging beyond the sub-wavelength size. Professor Rho's team aims to develop an optical microscope system having a resolution less than the diffraction limit through a hyperlens made of metamaterial. The resolution of conventional microscopy is restricted by the diffraction limit. Because of the diffraction limit, the spatial information smaller than one-half of the wavelength can’t be propagated to the far field. Hyperlenses have emerged to make it possible to propagate sub-diffraction scale evanescent field to far field as propagating waves. The goal of this project is to develop a new type of far-field super resolution optical microscopy, where the Hyperlens microscopy system is combined with conventional bright field optical microscope, using a high-powered laser, filters, a multi-focus lens, and a high-powered 100x objective lens. With this technology, the team hopes to predict and cure numerous diseases in real time monitoring.

Second Place Europe - Eindhoven University of Technology

Silver Award Winner - Europe   Europe — €5,000 in Products

Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands — Submitted by Peter Christian Bakker

For research on the topic of internal combustion engines, specifically the burn-out phase. During this last phase of the combustion process, not all of the fuel is burned and converted to heat. This leads to a significant reduction of the thermodynamic efficiency of the whole process. As of today, there has been little research conducted on this field, answering the questions of how the burn-out phase can be influenced and optimized. Bakker’s research group intends to investigate the last stages of diesel fuel combustion in a complementary numerical and experimental approach. Leveraging several laser-diagnostic techniques, the composition of the late flame is characterized in both optically-accessible diesel engines as well as in fixed-volume spray combustion vessels. These techniques include 2-photon laser-induced fluorescence and multi-kHz laser-induced incandescence. Ultimately, the outcome of this research will help to increase the energy efficiency of diesel engines and will be used by one of the major oil companies to re-design their diesel fuel.



Third Place America - Schepens Eye Research Institute

Bronze Award Winner - Americas   Americas — $5,000 in Products

Schepens Eye Research Institute, USA — Submitted by Michael Stahl

For the development of an innovative device that uses both infrared structured light and visible green structured light to first sense and highlights hazards for the Visually Impaired (VI). 295 million people worldwide are VI, which poses a significant risk factor for falls and injuries for these. Surveys of VI people indicate that restricted mobility, the ability to commute for study, work, or recreation, is the most urgent problem affecting their quality of life. Stahl, a VI biomedical engineer, uses his own personal experiences to ensure that this wearable device fits into modern lifestyle by being hands-free and is cosmetic by not requiring the use of masks or goggles. Most research and products are designed for those who are totally blind, consequently missing the avenue to greatly improve public safety. This project aims to make a large impact on the quality of life for those who are VI.

Third Place Asia - The University of Sydney

Bronze Award Winner - Asia   Asia — $5,000 (USD) in Products

University of Sydney, Australia — Submitted by Prof. John Canning

For the development of smartphone spectrometer which utilizes a UV LED integrated onto the phone with the use of a collimating lens to act as the source of the fluorimeter. This instrument is run with the use of a customized application which is downloaded onto your phone. The CMOS chip is used as the detector and the homemade nano-imprinted diffraction grating is used as the spectrometer. A lens is then used to collect the light and the scattering, while it is all held in a 3D printed box. Canning and his team plan for this device to be the world’s first dual absorption and fluorescence smartphone spectrometer built with widely available optics and 3D printing. Another interesting aspect of Canning and his team’s research is how this new technology can revolutionize numerous areas of study by merging lab-in-a-phone technology with the Internet of Things (IoT).

Third Place Europe - University of Copenhagen

Bronze Award Winner - Europe   Europe — €3,000 in Products

University of Copenhagen, Denmark — Submitted by Dmtiry Postnov

For research in Laser Speckle Imaging (LSI) of renal, brain, and retinal blood flow for the purpose of adapting and improving the technology for physiological research; in particular for the study of specific blood flow patterns in the kidney. Postnov and his research team are dedicated to improve the LSI technique for physiological research by studying the influence of various vessel depths and blood velocities in more detail. By using more advanced optical setups, his team was able to study the synchronization of blood flow oscillations in renal microcirculatory systems at an unreached level of detail. As of today, there are only a few companies that offer LSI cameras for medical applications. Based on his research, Postnov is developing a device that could be installed and configured by medical researchers themselves and would only cost a fraction of the commercial LSI systems available today.

Congratulations Educational Award Finalists!

Student Prize Winners - The Americas

1st Place – iPad®

Justin Nussbaum from University of South Florida

2nd Place – iPad® Mini

Matthew Anderson from Georgia State University

3rd Place – Fitbit

Tongfeng Zhang from University of Toronto

2015 Norman Edmund Inspiration Award

Norman Edmund

Awarded on November 11th, 2015

Norman Edmund Inspiration Award: An additional $5,000 USD in products awarded to the program that best embodies the legacy of Edmund Optics’ founder Norman Edmund.
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