Edmund Optics®, the premier provider of optical components, announces the recipient of the 2015 Norman Edmund Inspiration Award of $5,000 in product donation. Mr. Michael Stahl, a PhD student/Fellow at the Schepens Eye Research Institute in Boston, Massachusetts, has developed a wearable device for visually impaired (VI) people that reliably detects hazards in the environment.
One of the criteria for selecting a winner is to explain how the research project inspires others to pursue a career in optics or optical research. Mr. Stahl, who is a visually impaired biomedical engineer, uses his project to show others how innovation can work to overcome personal and professional challenges. He hopes his device, which improves accessibility, mobility and safety, will help to motivate other talented visually impaired professionals and future scientists to develop their own ideas on how optics based products can improve the lives of the visually impaired. “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 Mr. Stahl. “My own experiences have enabled me to develop something that works, is hands-free and does not require unsightly masks or goggles.” He hopes his project will encourage other professionals with or without visual impairments to do the same.
Mr. Stahl’s project uses both infrared structured light and visible green structured light to and highlight hazards for the visually impaired in a wearable device, which can detect a very common and dangerous class of hazard – steps and tripping hazards. This is a significant risk factor for falls and injury and impacts quality of life.
“My grandfather had an unwavering commitment to inspire others to pursue science and research, especially within the field of optical innovation,” commented Marisa Edmund, Executive Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing. “Mr. Stahl’s project not only helps the visually impaired, but also motivates other VI professionals to challenge themselves to develop their own innovative solutions. This embodies what Norman Edmund’s pursuit was all about.”
The Norman Edmund Inspiration Award honors the contributions made by Norman Edmund to advance the science of optics. The recipient of the award is chosen from among the 45 global finalists in the Americas, Europe, and Asia, who best represent the legacy of Mr. Edmund.
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