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Optical Design & Engineering

Bridging the Innovation to Development Gap

SPIE Newsroom
17 April 2017

On April 13, on a sunny Spring day in central Florida, a high-tech research facility called BRIDG was officially opened in a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony. The acronym stands for "Bridging the Innovation Development Gap" and conveys the central mission of the innovative technology collective, to "bridge the gap" that exists between companies and universities doing research and the products that will benefit from that research.

A DBA for the International Consortium for Advanced Manufacturing Research (ICAMR), this ambitious high-tech project is housed in the Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center (FAMRC), the anchor of a 500-acre site called NeoCity. The 109,000-square-foot facility will be one of the most advanced fabrication labs in the world.

Ribbon-cutting ceremony for BRIDG in Central Florida

Ribbon-cutting ceremony for BRIDG. Courtesy Osceola County.

The facility will focus on developing new advanced semiconductor designs for micro-electronics, nano-electronics, sensors, fiber optics, and photonics. These developments will positively impact multiple industries such as aerospace, defense, and homeland security; agriculture; robotics and autonomous systems; manufacturing; energy; cybersecurity; and biomedical fields.

BRIDG is housed in the Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center

BRIDG is housed in the Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center. Courtesy Osceola County.

"Just one year ago, NeoCity was an open field in Central Florida," said BRIDG CEO, Chester Kennedy. "Today, it is BRIDG's new home, and we have a state-of-the-art facility to help us bring to light new and exciting ideas for our partners."

BRIDG's partners now range from a Belgium-based leading international hub in nano-electronics and digital technology to a home-grown photonics and smart sensor developer. Other major partners include Harris Corporation, Tupperware Brands, Argonne National Laboratories, Kissimmee-based Photon-X, Florida International University, University of South Florida and University of Florida among others.

The project was guided by University of Central Florida (UCF) and other universities, the High Tech Corridor and other private parties. UCF has been helping BRIDG pursue federal contracts that would build sensors and other photonics technology at the facility.