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MD&M West: Finding My Way

Photonics.com
Feb 2010
Gary Boas

Feb. 11, 2010 — I'll resist the obvious opening lines about the Anaheim Convention Center and its proximity to Disneyland. I'm a better writer than that, a more responsible chronicler of all things photonic. Anyway, there's nothing Mickey Mouse about the joint. The place is huge, I mean really, mind-bogglingly big. Airplane hangars could throw a party in there.

Walking into the center yesterday, eager to explore the Medical Design & Manufacturing (MD&M West) trade show, I was overwhelmed by both the scale of the event and the breadth of the offerings. I saw regenerative blowers that looked like misshapen lawn mower engines; vertically mounted plastic bag sealing systems (whatever those are); and room-size automatic bottling apparatus, which made me think - quite fondly, really - of the opening credit sequence from Laverne & Shirley.

I decided after five or ten minutes that I was totally in the wrong hall. And I was beginning to suspect I was at the wrong show. I wasn't, of course. It's just that much of what I wanted to see was on the other side of the room - a football field or so away - or in Hall E downstairs. Optical metrology and digital microscopy systems; sources for laser cutting and welding, and for laser marking; fiber optic assemblies for surgical and diagnostic instruments. It was all there.

As I wandered, I was struck by the myriad ways in which optics and photonics have contributed to and advanced the medical device industry. Speaking with vendors, I began to see that the reverse is true as well.

I'll poke around some more today, and report back when I can.

Gary


GLOSSARY
cutting
The process of forming a lens to a given pattern, or of cutting a piece of glass along the line of scratch.
photonics
The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
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