SPIE Smart Structures + Nondestructive Evaluation Awards

View the award nominations and recipients each year for this conference community

Recognizing the brightest minds

See the many ways excellence is recognized across multiple disciplines.

Announcing the 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award Winners

Award recipients at SPIE Smart Structures + NDE

2022 Lifetime Achievement Award Winners


David Alleyne

GUL—Guided Ultrasonics Ltd. (UK)

Akhlesh Lakhtakia

The Pennsylvania State Univ (USA)

The nomination process


The awards presented at Smart Structures + Nondestructive Evaluation 2022 represent four categories of excellence across various disciplines:

The nomination criteria are different for each, and all are awarded onsite. Here is a list of the various awards presented. See the list of the most recent award winners at the end of each section.


SPIE SSM/NDE Lifetime Achievement Awards

These awards recognize senior researchers who have made significant contributions to the field of Smart Structures and Materials (SSM) or Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE) and who have been instrumental in their growth. The award decision is based on the extent of the nominee's impact on our community and participation in the SPIE Smart Structures + Nondestructive Evaluation symposium. The prize consists of an SPIE certificate and a plenary talk at the Smart Structures + Nondestructive Evaluation Symposium the following year.

Click here to review the 2022 SPIE Lifetime Achievement Award criteria and nomination information.

For further information, please contact the 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award Chairs:

NDE Award Chair: Haiying Huang (huang@uta.edu)

SSM Award Chair: Hani Naguib (naguib@mie.utoronto.ca)


SPIE Best Student Paper Contest

SPIE sponsors the best student paper presentation contest with a cash prize for the first, second, and third place winners. Entrants are judged by a committee of SPIE volunteers. The top six finalist student authors present their papers at a special session at the meeting.

In order to be eligible for the contest:

  • The presenting author must be a full-time student that has not yet received a PhD degree. Students graduating with a PhD in 2021/2022 are only eligible if the work was performed while they were full-time students.
  • Submit an abstract to the meeting by Wednesday, 25 August 2021. The author's presentation must be reviewed and accepted for a podium presentation by the Conference Chairs and scheduled within the program before submitting to the Best Student Paper Contest.
  • Once your presentation is accepted to the conference, email an extended abstract (i.e., not the same abstract you submitted for the general meeting) and the accompanying Name and Affiliation file to SPIEbeststudentcompetition@gmail.com by Monday, 8 November 2021. Please use the Extended Abstract Template and the accompanying Name and Affiliation Template for preparing your submissions. Save both documents as PDF files before submitting.
  • After judges review the extended abstracts 6 finalists will be selected and notified. Finalists will 1) give a presentation in a special Best Paper Contest session and 2) must submit a manuscript to be published in the conference proceedings by Wednesday, 9 February 2022.

Evaluation Criteria: The submitted extended abstracts and finalist paper presentations will each need to demonstrate a connection to smart structures and materials and advance the state-of-the-art. They will be judged according to:

  • Relevance to smart materials and smart structures, including applications of smart materials / structures
  • Significance and potential impact
  • Student creativity and innovation
  • Technical, theoretical, and/or experimental quality
  • Clarity and quality of manuscript
  • Appreciation of work done by others (i.e., demonstrating how your work fits in a larger body of research)
  • Depth / rigor of presentation and analysis of results
  • Completeness and quality of slides
  • Effectiveness of oral presentation
  • Time management during oral presentation.

The sequence of events for the contest is: I. Submission of extended abstract and request for consideration II. Evaluation of abstracts and selection of finalists by the committee and notification of finalists III. Presentation of papers by student finalists at special session of the committee and voting to determine the winners. (Special session) IV. Presentation of certificate to winners.

2021 Winners:

First Place: Atharva Mahabaleshwarkar, Univ. of Minnesota, Twin Cities (United States), "Forward and inverse design of programmable surfaces from knitted active textiles" (SPIE Paper 11588-61)

Second Place: Weilin Guan, Univ. of California, Irvine (United States), "Design exploration of a tensegrity twisting wing enabled by shape memory alloy wire actuation" (SPIE Paper 11588-220)

Third Place: Yutong Xia, Univ. of Michigan (United States), "The deployment dynamics and multistability of tubular fluidic origami" (SPIE Paper 11588-22)


Bioinspiration, Biomimetics, and Bioreplication Best Student Paper Award: In Memory of H. Don Wolpert

The Bioinspiration, Biomimetics, and Bioreplication VII conference chairs choose the Best Student Paper Award from their conference. This award is sponsored by the Optical Society of Southern California. A cash prize will be given to the first, second, and third place winners.

Award Sponsor:

OSSC logo

2021 Winners:

First Place: Jeong Yong Kim, North Carolina State Univ. (United States), "Free strain gradient reversal of a variable recruitment fluidic artificial muscle bundle"

Second Place: Nazanin Minaian, Univ. of Nevada, Las Vegas (United States), "Continuing the investigation of the sensing response of ionic polymer-metal composites: effects of geometry and orientation"

Third Place: Hua-Chuan Tsai, "Crack behavior in nacre-like composites: a phase-field method"


EAP-In-Action Demonstration Awards

As part of the EAPAD conference of the SPIE Smart Structures/NDE symposia, the EAP-in-Action Demonstration Session has been held over the past 23 years. A judging committee, consisting of leading EAP experts, will select the award winners among the presenters at the EAP-in-Action Demonstration Session. The judges will assess the presenters' performance as well as the quality and content of the demos. The top ranked three will be recognized and will be awarded certificates.

How to Apply:
Send an email with the following information to Dr. Yoseph Bar-Cohen (yoseph.bar-cohen@jpl.nasa.gov):
  • Title of the demo
  • Name of the presenter(s) and affiliation(s)
  • Short description of the "EAP-in-Action" demo
  • Graphics and/or photo(s) that represent the demo. Graphics will be included in the Smart Structures + Nondestructive Evaluation program, as well as the Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) conference proceedings.

The demonstration presenters are ranked based on the following criteria:

  1. Originality/creativity
  2. Use of EAP to drive the demo
  3. Performance of the demo
  4. Potential impact

2021 Winners:

First Place: Ion-Dan Sîrbu, Marco Bolignari, Sandra Diré, Luca Fambri, Univ. of Trento (Italy), Giacomo Moretti, Marco Fontana, Scuola Superiore Snat’Anna (Italy), Rocco Vertechy, Univ. of Bologna (Italy), "Multifunctional actuators and energy harvester based on the Electrostatic Bellow Muscle (EBM)"

Second Place: Edouard Leroy, Herbert Shea, Soft Transducers Laboratory, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) (Switzerland), "HAXELs: Hydraulically amplified mm-scale actuators for wearable haptics"

Third Place: Lenore Rasmussen, Calum Briggs, Tianyu Cheng, Margot Meredith, Peter Vicars, Ras Labs, Inc. (United States), "Synthetic Muscle™ in Robotics: Extremely Sensitive Sensing"