Optical components maker Edmund Optics (Barrington, NJ) has named the recipient of the 2015 Norman Edmund Inspiration Award of $5000 in product donation. Michael Stahl, a PhD student/Fellow at the Schepens Eye Research Institute (Boston, MA), has developed a wearable device for visually impaired people that reliably detects hazards in the environment.
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One of the criteria for selecting a winner is to explain how the research project inspires others to pursue a career in optics or optical research. 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. He hopes his project will encourage other professionals with or without visual impairments to do the same.
Stahl's project uses both infrared structured light and visible green structured light to highlight hazards for the visually impaired in a wearable device, which can detect a very common and dangerous class of hazard—steps and tripping hazards. This is a significant risk factor for falls and injury, and impacts quality of life.
The Norman Edmund Inspiration Award honors the contributions made by Norman Edmund to advance the science of optics. The recipient of the award is chosen from among the 45 global finalists in the Americas, Europe, and Asia, who best represent the legacy of Mr. Edmund.
For more information, please visit www.edmundoptics.com/award.