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Showing posts from September, 2011

Will cuts in science funding undermine economic boosts from photonics industry?

Researchers and engineers in optics and photonics are watching closely, along with scientists from other disciplines, as governments look at serious budget cuts.
Everything is on the table, but of major concern is whether science and technology will suffer a disproportionate share of these budget cuts.
“Science and technology make an easy target for government policy makers, since frequently these fields are not seen to have an immediate effect on any individual’s livelihood,” notes Ron Driggers, Editor of Optical Engineering and a superintendent of the optical sciences division of the U.S. Naval Research Lab.
However, he stresses, science and technology have a dramatic long-term effect on everyone’s livelihood, driving the economy and changing our lives for the better in many ways.
“Science and technology literally create entire industries, and one result is jobs,” he asserts. “The creation and maintenance of the associated jobs more than repays the initial investment in science and tech…

Telemedicine: using the cell phone in field-testing for malaria and other diseases

What a great idea!
Aydogan Ozcan's group at University of California, Los Angeles, have developed a way to use the cell phone in a lens-free computational microscopy system utilizing digital inline holography to create on-chip imagers. The technique enables in-the-field testing for diseases such as malaria from remote locations, enabling faster and more universal diagnosis and thereby helping to save more lives.
In addition to Aydogan's interview last month with SPIE Newsroom in August 2011, more information from the group about the project and the technology is at these links:
Ozcan Research Group website
Handheld, lensless microscope identifies malaria parasites (SPIE Newsroom article from Ozcan lab)
Smart technology for global access to healthcare (SPIE Newsroom article by Aydogan Ozcan)

Sharing the light: photonics and vision

Members of the SPIE Student Chapter at Nicolaus Copernicus University in Poland went to a kindergarten to teach about physics, and came away with a powerful, life-changing idea for helping children with vision problems.

Chapter member Danuta Bukowska tells the story:

Like many other people with healthy vision, we had remained unaware of how difficult the lives of partially sighted people may be until we visited the Jan Brzechwa Kindergarten.
One intention was to demonstrate special experiments in physics to the children. In the process, we saw how much work and practice on their part is essential for the partially sighted children among the class to cope in society.
Deeply moved by this experience, we decided to take advantage of the resourcefulness and skills of young people who could put together an educational set of toys that would facilitate the process of learning for partially blind children.
The idea was to complete a cheap set of optical toys for visual stimulation and teachin…