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FOCUS RESEARCH NEWS


Toptica spins off Toptica Projects


Toptica Photonics has founded a new subsidiary, Toptica Projects, which will focus on customised laser solutions and technology development. Located in Munich, the spin-off will concentrate on laser systems that are beyond Toptica’s off-the-shelf components and modules – for example laser systems with very high technical complexity and/or longer development times. Toptica Projects will also become the


new home of Toptica’s Guide Star laser activities, for adaptive optics control in ground-based telescopes, such as the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT). ‘Access to latest technology for


integration into customised laser system solutions have been instrumental to Toptica’s growth in the past and opened up new markets as well. Within Toptica Projects we will be able to give such activities a much stronger emphasis and secure long-term technology leadership,’ commented Frank Lison, managing director and CEO of the new Toptica Projects. Wilhelm Kaenders, president of


Toptica Photonics and co-serving as managing director of the new entity, added: ‘The current team of six employees combines more than a century of experience in development of speciality laser solutions covering the spectral range from deep UV to MIR. The expertise includes continuous wave diode lasers as well as ultrashort pulse fibre lasers for the low and high power regime.’


The office began operations on 3 October 2016.


RESEARCH NEWS


FOCUS


Autonomous vehicle tech assists visually impaired in EU project


The Inspex system will be demonstrated inside a white cane for the visually impaired


A


European collaboration involving universities, companies and research institutes is developing a


wearable obstacle-detection system based on autonomous vehicle technology that could assist the visually impaired, guide robotic drones and aid in smart manufacturing. The three-year Inspex project aims to


develop a portable 3D detection system that will employ lidar, UWB radar and MEMS ultrasound sensors to identify 3D obstacles in real-time, even in the harshest weather. The sensors will be co-integrated


ESO’s 4 Laser Guided Star System focused on a particular area of the sky


www.electrooptics.com | @electrooptics


with an inertial measurement unit, environmental sensors, and signal-and-data processing within a miniature, low-power system designed to operate within smart environments. Initially, the system will be demonstrated inside a white cane for the visually impaired, providing 3D spatial audio feedback on obstacle location. Applications in human mobility, instrumentation and smart homes/factories are also anticipated for the near future. ‘Sophisticated obstacle-detection systems such as those in autonomous vehicles


are typically large and heavy, have high power consumption and require large computational capabilities,’ said Suzanne Lesecq, project co-ordinator at project partner Leti. ‘The Inspex team will work together to miniaturise and adapt this technology for individual and personal applications, which will require even greater capability for all-conditions obstacle


“The Inspex team will work together to miniaturise and adapt this technology for individual and personal applications”


detection. The project is a strong example of European innovation to bring leading- edge technology to a broader segment of users.’ Project partners include Leti (France),


the University of Manchester (UK), Cork Institute of Technology (Ireland), STMicroelectronics (Switzerland), Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology CSEM, Tyndall National Institute University College Cork (Ireland), University of Namur ASBL (Belgium), GoSense (France) and SensL Technologies (Ireland).


March 2017 Electro Optics 7


Leti


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