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Inventors of Medical Imaging with Optical Coherence Tomography Win 2017 European Inventors Award

22 June 2017

The European Patent Office (EPO) honored SPIE Fellow and SPIE Board Member James Fujimoto, SPIE Member Robert Huber, and Eric A. Swanson with the 2017 European Inventor Award for the development of optical coherence tomography (OCT). The team received the award 15 June when exceptional inventors from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Morocco, the Netherlands, Spain, and the US gathered at the 12th edition of the award ceremony in Venice.

The European Inventor Award is one of Europe's most prestigious innovation prizes and recognizes individual inventors and teams of inventors whose pioneering inventions provide answers to some of the biggest challenges of our times. Winners are selected by an independent jury consisting of international authorities in the fields of business, politics, science, academia and research, who examine the proposals in terms of their contribution towards technical progress, social development, economic prosperity and job creation in Europe.

Acknowledging the winners in the Non-EPO countries category, the EPO stated, “Doctors can now create real-time images of human tissue for early detection of cancer, glaucoma and other ailments thanks to US engineers James G. Fujimoto and Eric A. Swanson and German physicist Robert Huber. Their breakthrough imaging technology, optical coherence tomography (OCT), is now standard procedure for eye examinations.”

The invention has demonstrated significant economic impact as well, a defining criterion of the award. According to the award press release, analysts estimate global revenues from OCT systems in 2015 at EUR 688 million, with experts expecting the OCT market to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 12%, ultimately reaching over EUR 1.5 billion by 2020.

Earlier this year, Fujimoto and the OCT Team also received the 2017 Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ Prize from the National Academy of Engineering.

For more information:

Swanson, Fujimoto, and Huber
Eric Swanson, James Fujimoto, and Robert Huber
at the EPO Awards Ceremony