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SPIE's Defense and Security Symposium connects infrared, sensor, and photonics researchers and developers

BELLINGHAM, WA, USA - 21 March 2008 - SPIE's Defense and Security Symposium (DSS) held in Orlando, FL, USA, 16-20 March was a high-energy event, with researchers and innovators networking on the latest developments in infrared technologies, sensor data analysis, modeling and simulation, and enabling photonics technologies.

Technical conferences and hot-topic sessions on infrared technologies and applications, radar systems, visual analytics, chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosives (CBRNE) sensing, unattended and unmanned systems, imaging and surveillance systems, and displays drew the largest audiences. Total attendance was 5,700, up approximately 16% from last year, and exhibitors reported finding excellent contacts.

Sensor content was expanded, and organizers are building even more into the plan for next year.

"The 2009 Defense, Security, and Sensing meeting will build on the success of this year's program," said incoming symposium chair Ray Johnson of Lockheed Martin. "In 2009, we will incorporate the former Optics East sensing topics into the DSS meeting to leverage the technical convergence available from the two symposia."

Larry Stotts of DARPA was symposium chair for the 2008 event.

Representatives from among the 463 exhibiting companies offered positive comments about exhibition traffic. Among them was George Woodruff of Geo Systems, Inc. "We are very happy with the show," Woodruff said on-site. "We've had excellent networking and great visibility. This is our favorite show of the year."

"We continue to be impressed by the quality of companies represented," said Jeff Koch of Umicore Optical Materials. "We plan the release of new programs around this show."

The Florida Research Consortium brought a strong regional angle to the event, with its co-located Florida Innovation Showcase 2008. The consortium is a not-for-profit strategic partnership among Florida's universities, the business community, and state government.

A special Robotics and Unmanned Vehicles Pavilion gave attendees a close-up look at projects such as entrants from the DARPA Challenge autonomous vehicle competition and robotics systems and unmanned aerial vehicles currently used by the U.S. Army and Navy. (See http://spie.org/x17692.xml for more information about the DARPA Challenge.)

Featured speakers included:

  • A plenary talk by The Honorable Jay M. Cohen, Under Secretary for Science and Technology in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), presenting a brief a DHS science and technology brief; see the presentation at http://spie.org/Documents/ConferencesExhibitions/SPIEDSS08CohenPlenary.pdf
    and a video clip at http://spie.org/x23308.xml.
  • A Hot- Topics address by Sir John Chisholm, Chairman of QinetiQ Ltd., on "Innovation and the Wealth of Nations."
  • A banquet speech by Delores M. Etter, Office of Naval Research Distinguished Chair in Science and Technology, Electrical Engineering Department, U.S. Naval Academy, on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education and impacts on the future workforce pool. Etter was presented with the DSS Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Gold Medal of the Society was awarded to M. J. Soileau, vice president of University of Central Florida's Office of Research and Commercialization and founding director of CREOL-The College of Optics and Photonics at UCF. For information about other awards presented, see http://spie.org/x23799.xml.

Networking opportunities events included events for the SPIE Women in Optics group, Early Career Professional and Student members, and an all-symposium reception.

Additional information and photos are at spie.org/x23836.xml.

About SPIE
SPIE is an international optics and photonics society founded in 1955 advancing light-based technologies. Serving the interests of its more than 188,000 active constituents representing 138 different countries, SPIE acts as a catalyst for collaboration among technical disciplines for information exchange, continuing education, publishing opportunities, patent precedent, and career and professional growth. As the organizer and sponsor of approximately 25 major conferences and education programs annually in North America, Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific, SPIE provides publishing, speaking, and learning opportunities on emerging technologies. For more information, visit SPIE.org.

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