The Edmund Optics Educational Award is an initiative to support outstanding undergraduate and graduate optics programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics at non-profit colleges and universities.
America — $10,000 in Products
University of Colorado Boulder, USA – submitted by Emily Bedell
For the design of an in-situ fluorimeter to detect microbial risk levels in drinking water sources in real-time. The application will be in low-income contexts where fecal contamination of drinking water is prevalent. Currently, approximately 780 million people in the world lack access to an improved water source, and unsafe drinking water is a leading cause of preventable disease and higher mortality. Cost effective, real-time assessment of microbial water quality is needed to provide early warning alarms of contamination risk.
Europe — €7,000 in Products
Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Institute of Applied Physics, Germany – submitted by Jan Sperrhake
In neonatology and pediatric intensive care medicine, it is very important to continuously observe the vital signs of newborns. But existing technology relies on sensors that have to be attached to newborns, which cause restriction of movement and sometimes even painful skin irritations. Reliable data on vital signs is essential in order to prevent lung and heart failure or even sudden child death. The project aims to solve these problems through the development of an all-new multipurpose, contactless medical sensor device. A high-resolution 3D imaging system is being developed that allows collecting data on the movement of patients. Additionally, spatially resolved multi-spectral imaging is being used to detect and map different vital signs at once. The success of this project could be a door opener for more contactless medical technology, revolutionizing many processes currently in place.
Americas — $7,500 in Products
University of Arizona, USA – submitted by Travis Sawyer
For the development of a novel endoscope for early detection of esophageal cancer. The device uses optical coherence tomography (OCT) to analyze tissue structure and hyperspectral imaging (HSI) to probe metabolism. This endoscope will be the first to integrate OCT and HSI in a clinically-translatable device for esophageal cancer screening.
Europe — €5,000 in Products
University of Bern, Switzerland – submitted by Andreas Riedo
Reliable in-situ detection of signatures of life on extra-terrestrial bodies within the solar system is extremely challenging and depends on various parameters, including the application of robust and sensitive measurement techniques for the detection of biological signatures. This project aims to develop a robust and sensitive detector for the reliable in-situ detection of such signatures of life on these bodies within the solar system. This will be done using a novel and sensitive miniature laser desorption mass spectrometer, a system not yet applied in space science, which is coupled with a nanosecond laser system operated in the UV. Amino acids relevant to life, drop casted on a stainless-steel substrate, can be gently desorbed and identified down to trace level concentrations. The sensitivity and robustness of the system is being designed to outperform other available space systems designed for life detection and is being considered by NASA for its upcoming mission to Europa.
Americas — $5,000 in Products
University of Central Florida, USA – submitted by Guanjun Tan
For the resolution of several remaining optical challenges in head-mounted display systems, including virtual reality and optical see-through augmented reality. This project uses advanced active liquid crystal elements to solve several challenging issues of near-eye displays.
Europe — €3,000 in Products
Vrije Universiteit Brussels, Belgium – submitted by Alejandro Madrid Sánchez
The slow speed of current two-photon polymerization (TPP) for printing 3D structures makes it an inefficient technique for manufacturing wound dressings at a centimetre scale. This project proposes a novel solution to reduce the printing time by producing tailored voxels which can enable large-scale 3D structures to be implemented in biomedical applications. The idea is to use beam shaping optics to redistribute the irradiance profile of the laser beam, optimize the use of the laser energy, and produce larger voxels that compose larger 3D structures. This has the potential to lead to a substantial increase in 3D printing speed and could have wide-reaching impact across many different sectors.