Industry leaders to share insights on new opportunities for photonics in sensing, security

Full-day session sponsored by photonics society SPIE will cover applications from precision agriculture to battlefield communications

31 May 2016
Sir Brian Burridge Paul Winstanley Graeme Malcolm Ian Reid
Sir Brian
Stephen Marshall Nigel Douglas Jaime Reed Stephen Anderson

BELLINGHAM, Washington, USA, and CARDIFF, UK — Industry leaders at an all-day event in Edinburgh will offer insight on opportunities for new end-use applications resulting from the rapid emergence of innovative dual-use technologies in the defence, security, and sensing markets.

Sponsored by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, the industry session will be held 28 September in the Edinburgh International Convention Centre, in conjunction with the co-located international technology forums SPIE Remote Sensing and SPIE Security and Defence. Admission to the industry session is free of charge, and participants may register in advance.

Speakers include:

  • Sir Brian Burridge, Leonardo-Finmeccanica Senior Vice President UK Corporate, will open the session with a keynote talk identifying barriers to moving new information technology from the laboratory into the hands of the warfighter, and offering proposals for change to help meet current and future information requirements.
  • Session chair Paul Winstanley, Executive Director for Innovation of the UK Defence Solutions Centre (UKDSC), will describe the UKDSC approach to identifying, acquiring, and integrating innovation, including a shift to adapting technology from adjacent market sectors, for complex capabilities from nuclear deterrence to wearable technology.
  • Graeme Malcom, OBE, CEO and co-founder of Glasgow-based M Squared Lasers, will outline laser applications in remote threat detection, and discuss the state of the art in diode-pumped solid-state lasers, optical parametric oscillators, and semiconductor lasers. Malcolm, who has played a key role in the development of a variety of award-winning photonics systems, will describe M Squared Lasers' experience in commercializing active hyperspectral imaging and heterodyne sensing methods.
  • Ian Reid, CEO of CENSIS, will give an overview of the role of Innovation Centres in the Scottish innovation and economic development landscape, with a look at the range of operating models and how innovations are engaging industry and academia along with expectations as to what is ahead.
  • Stephen Marshall, professor and director of the Hyperspectral Imaging Centre at the University of Strathclyde, will cover technology trends in remote sensing, including miniaturized multi- and hyperspectral cameras and other devices incorporated into drones and other flying sensors. These developments have helped open new commercial applications including precision agriculture, surveying buildings for heat loss, and leaks in water, oil, and gas pipelines, as well as rapid assessment of natural disaster damages and oil spills.
  • Nigel Douglas, CEO of Global Surface Intelligence Ltd., will describe the "Earth observation gold rush" resulting from an exponential increase in the number of satellites in orbit in the near future and the amount of sensor data they will generate. He will address how the trend is changing satellite-based Earth observations, how upstream and downstream space sectors are converging, and what evolutionary changes are needed to cope with the increase in sensor data.
  • Jaime Reed, Head of Research and Development in the Earth Observation, Navigation, and Science Directorate of Airbus DS, will describe tools developed by the remote sensing community for analysing huge volumes of data from satellite systems, particularly for weather and climate. Reed will explain how the trend toward the falling price of satellite hardware could enable new applications in security and other areas, through greater timeliness and near-real-time data delivery.
  • Stephen Anderson, SPIE Director of Industry Development, will provide an update focused on the defence and security sectors from an ongoing SPIE analysis of the global photonics market. Anderson will highlight growth in the number of companies, revenues generated, and employees in the sector, among other data.

Quantum optics, commercialisation of fibre lasers, and remote sensing for water resource management are among topics to covered in the Remote Sensing and Security and Defence technical sessions going on throughout the week.

Sir David Payne of the University of Southampton, Sir Peter Knight of Imperial College London, and Wim Bastiaanssen from UNESCO's Institute for Water Education and Delft University of Technology will give plenary talks.

Conferences and other activities run 26-29 September.

About SPIE

SPIE is the international society for optics and photonics, an educational not-for-profit organisation founded in 1955 to advance light-based science, engineering, and technology. The Society serves nearly 264,000 constituents from approximately 166 countries, offering conferences and their published proceedings, continuing education, books, journals, and the SPIE Digital Library. In 2015, SPIE provided more than $5.2 million in support of education and outreach programs.


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