On 17 – 18 October, this years’ Photonex Exhibition & Conference took place in the Ricoh Arena Coventry, a football arena with integrated show and conference site. The largest, if not to say the only relevant, event for photonics, applied optical equipment, biophotonics, fibre optics, lasers, vision and all light technologies in the UK. And it was held together with an exhibition about vacuum technology.
Show organizer Laurence Devereux was very pleased with the event and reported a 6% increase in visitors compared to Photonex 2011. Indeed, the atmosphere amongst the community was good during the two show days and the compact show layout made it easy to get around and talk to exhibitors. French company, Light Tec with its portable scatterometer had a brand-new product at the stand. Alrad Imaging promulgated the launch of their new trading division Alrad Photonics and the distribution agreement for the EVT EyeSpector. Novus Light Technologies Today’s UK launch was greeted with a very warm welcome by the Photonex exhibitors.
In research, the newly established Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics had its first appearance at Photonex. The institute is based in Glasgow and the first Fraunhofer institute in the UK. Furthermore, a special focus was laid this year in Coventry on the topic of medical applications of photonics. For this, a workshop of speakers on biomedical sensing was organized by the Institute of Bio-sensing Technology (IBST) from the University of the West of England (UWE) and University of Exeter on Thursday, which was packed with listeners. The two sessions meant to create a link between academia and industry and dealt with prospects for in-vivo optical diagnostics and optical in-vitro cell monitoring. This worked very well, and Janice Kiely, Director of the Institute of Bio-sensing Technology reported that in the course of the discussions the idea for a new project on hyperspectral imaging between a company and a research institute was born.
In the machine vision conference sessions “Vision UK in Action”, trends in machine vision were identified to go toward the soon introduction of USB3 cameras by most manufacturers and the further establishment of CoaXPress as a camera interface. 3D laser triangulation is seen to become quite popular, and smart cameras are expected to be very compact in their next generation, which would enable them to use miniature optics then.
Overall, the two show days in Coventry once again underlined the significance of Photonex as the one meeting place for the photonics community in the UK.
Written by Andreas Breyer, Senior Editor, Germany, Novus Light Technologies Today