Specialty Markets

Ocean Optics Awards Phase I Blue Ocean Grants

October 18, 2011

Open innovation award program expanded amid exceptional response.

DUNEDIN, FL -- Ocean Optics has named the Phase I winners of its first Blue Ocean Grants and Challenges, an open innovation program seeking novel ideas and technologies with the ultimate potential to change the world for the better and eventual market commercialization. The quantity of quality applications was so impressive that the company issued more grants than planned and created an additional category of developmental grants.

The Blue Ocean grants are divided into two phases. Phase I grants are issued to fund initial evaluation and development of ideas and technologies to the proof of concept phase. The company originally planned to award up to 10 Phase I grants of up to $10,000, but expanded that number to 13 grants in five different countries when the grant committee, made up of Ocean Optics Chief Technology Officer Jason M. Eichenholz and independent photonics experts, felt strongly compelled to find funding for an additional three worthy recipients.

In addition, another seven strong submissions were awarded development grants. Development grant recipients will be given or loaned Ocean Optics equipment to facilitate progression of their grant ideas, enabling them to be submitted for either Phase II of this year's program or next year's Phase I funding. Phase II grants will be issued to nurture a proposed technology through proof of concept in a way that enables the potential of market commercialization. Up to two Phase II grants of up to $100,000 each will be awarded in early 2012.

"We were very impressed with the response to the Blue Ocean Grant Program. We had over 100 submissions from multiple countries, with a diverse range of photonics technologies and applications, " said Eichenholz. "The submissions quality was spectacular and our winners demonstrate the power of optical sensing to change the world. We're excited and honored to help facilitate development of all of these amazing ideas and anticipate some game changing future products as a result."

Recipients were chosen based on ability to change the world for the better, out of the box thinking, technical merit and potential commercial viability.

Phase I grant winners are:

  • Jarkko Antila, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, MEMS-based Mid-IR spectrometer
  • Christopher Fraker, Diabetes Research Institute, Tailored oxygen levels for cell culturing
  • Matthew Gunn, Aberystwyth University, Economical hyperspectral imager
  • Guifang Li, CREOL/The School of Optics at the University of Central Florida, The College of Optics & Photonics, Novel tunable mid IR laser sources
  • Zhiwen Liu, The Pennsylvania State University, G-Fresnel optical spectrometer miniaturization
  • Hans-Peter Loock, Queen's University, Fiber-Optic mercury probe
  • Robert Pal, Durham University / FScan LTD, Handheld rapid prostate cancer screening instrument
  • Bill Parker, Creative Microsystems, Nanoliter optical sensing
  • Nadia Pervez, Chromation Partners, Novel photonic crystal spectrometer
  • Scott Rowe, Ocular Prognostics, LLC, Macular pigment measurement
  • Maurizio Tormen, CSEM SA, MEMS wavemeter
  • Ian White, University of Maryland, Inkjet-printed SERS dipsticks
  • Liang Zhang, University of Washington, Detection system for early childhood caries

Development grant winners are:

  • Kristen Maitland, Texas A&M University, Spectrally encoded depth scans for early cancer detection
  • Dominic Murphy, Fusion Photonics Ltd., Fiber Fourier transform spectrometer
  • Dustin Ritter, Engineering World Health organization—Texas A&M chapter, Medical oxygen concentrator measurement system
  • Frank Rutten, Keele University, Rapid on-site detection of asbestos
  • Eric Smith, FMIP, Realtime spectroscopy for the produce industry
  • Kate Sugden, Aston University, Fiber Bragg grating sensing using new Ocean Optics spectrometers
  • Bo Yang, USF College of Marine Science, Low cost optical pH sensors

Ocean Optics would like to thank the following grant committee members for their time and expertise in reviewing applications: Steve Anderson of SPIE, professor David Brady of Duke University, Dr. Daniel L. Farkas of Spectral Molecular Imaging, Dr. Thomas Giallorenzi of OSA and the Naval Research Labs, professor Bahaa E. A. Saleh of CREOL/The School of Optics at the University of Central Florida and professor Andreas Tünnermann of Fraunhofer IOF.

About Ocean Optics
Headquartered in Dunedin, FL, Ocean Optics Inc. is a leading supplier of solutions for optical sensing—fundamental methods of measuring and interpreting the interaction of light with matter. With locations in Asia and Europe, the company has sold more than 150,000 spectrometers worldwide since 1992. Ocean Optics' extensive line of complementary technologies includes chemical sensors, analytical instrumentation, optical fibers, metrology products and optics. The company is a subsidiary of Halma p.l.c., an international market leader in safety, health and sensor technology.

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