BARRINGTON, N.J., Nov. 11, 2015 — A visually impaired biomedical engineer developing optical technologies to help others like him navigate their surroundings safely is the winner of the 2015 Norman Edmund Inspiration Award. The award, which comes with a $5,000 product donation, is presented annually by Edmund Optics Inc. Michael Stahl, a doctoral student and fellow at the Schepens Eye Research Institute in Boston, developed a wearable device that uses uses IR and green structured light to detect steps and tripping hazards. "Many devices have been developed to aid the visually impaired, but none are making a large impact on quality of life because they don't fit into the modern lifestyle," said Stahl. "My own experiences have enabled me to develop something that works, is hands-free, and does not require unsightly masks or goggles." Stahl also received Edmund's bronze Educational Award. The awards recognize undergraduate and graduate optics programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics at nonprofit colleges and universities. Three tiers of awards are presented in the Americas, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. Research engineer Jarred Swalwell and his team at University of Washington in Seattle, won a gold award for developing devices for marine research with an optical technology that makes it possible to perform continuous-flow cytometric analysis on seawater without the need for clean water. Professor Dr. Masahito Yamanaka of Nagoya University in Japan, received a gold award for the development of superresolution 3D imaging technology. Using the high brightness of rare-earth metals and nanoparticles along with highly nonlinear optical emissions, the technology produces fluorescence images with high contrast and a low signal-to-noise ratio. Doctoral assistant Outi Supponen and her team at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland, received a gold award for research on the dynamics of collapsing cavitation bubbles for applications such as needle-free injections, microfluidic pumps, new printing technologies and transportation. Edmund Optics also recognized the following researchers with silver awards: • Vira Oleksyuk, a Ph.D. graduate student at Temple University in Philadelphia, for work on noninvasive breast cancer diagnostics using a multimodal imaging system that combines tactile and hyperspectral capabilities to discern malignant and benign tumors. • Doctoral researcher Peter Christian Bakker and his team from Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands, for study of internal combustion engine efficiency. • Dr. Dasol Lee of Pohang University of Science and Technology in South Korea, for development of a metamaterial hyperlens system for subwavelength bioimaging. Bronze awards went to the following researchers: • Doctoral student Dmitry Postnov and his team at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, for research on laser speckle imaging of renal, brain and retinal blood flow. • Professor John Canning of the University of Sydney in Australia, for development of a smartphone spectrometer. The nine Educational Award winners were chosen from more than 800 applicants. Edmund said it will provide award recipients more than $85,000 worth of its products to support their research.