Enabling technologies never sleep

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JAKE SALTZMAN, EDITOR [email protected]

Several ways to chart the progress of a particular technology exist. Awards and accolades provide a measure of mainstream recognition, which is an important consideration for determining the economic impact that a certain technology will have on society. Financial success itself, as reported by focused market reports, provides a direct index of the monetary conditions facing a specific technology. A favorable report is a sound indicator of growth. Seminal breakthroughs in a particular branch of technology, meanwhile, offer a simple yet effective gauge.

All three have their time and place.

The technologies that exist under the umbrella of photonics have often been easy to locate when scientific innovation breaks. From early-iteration photonic devices, to today’s most sophisticated light sources, photonic technologies flourish in their role as enablers to a vast number of research and industrial pursuits.

As this magazine has declared often, photonics never sleeps.

The reach of many of the solutions that are spotlighted in this magazine can be evaluated by turning to the periphery of photonics. Doing so, in fact, provides yet another measure of the influence of photonics. The machine vision sector, for example, is undergoing its own transformation. As automation applications using imaging, sensing, and lighting technologies advance, the photon — like the technologies that it enables — is never far removed from innovation.

Since 2021, Photonics Spectra has shared in the promotion of the Vision Spectra Conference, presented by our sibling publication and taking place July 16 to 18 this year. The conference delivers expert-led insights into the technology fundamentals and burgeoning trends permeating the machine vision landscape. In addition to sessions focused on systems in the imaging and sensing domains, this year’s conference offers a glimpse into a future enhanced by AI, deep learning, and robotics. Each provides ample opportunities for photonics to serve as an enabler as well as a beneficiary of these technology areas.

A full program for this year’s Vision Spectra conference can be found on here.

As for Photonics Spectra, this month’s cover story explores a range of components that will be familiar to the machine vision enthusiast: IR sensors. Contributing editor James Schlett’s coverage here delves into pedestrian safety initiatives and the sensing and imaging technologies poised to help spur positive outcomes on roadways. Elsewhere, contributors Light Conversion, MKS/Spectra-Physics, and EPIC highlight pertinent topics in laser materials processing.

Whether the significance of the photon is judged on its applications, enabled technologies, or potential for growth, one need not look far for evidence that it pervades many fields, including those that run adjacent to optics and photonics.

Published: July 2024

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