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2016 Start-Up Challenge Winners

At Photonics West, which opens today in San Francisco, California (US), over 20,000 people will gather to learn about the latest research, trends, new products and innovation in light technologies. Not all companies at Photonics West have long-standing history in the industry, however. Many are just launching their business and the Start-Up Challenge offers them the opportunity to pitch their light-based technology products to a team of business development experts and venture capitalists in the Semi-Finals, held today, Tuesday 31 January from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Park Central Hotel, Franciscan I & II, Stanford Room. Here the semi-finalists, divided into three tracks, will compete for the six spots in the final.

The three tracks are BioPhotonics, Point of Care; Imaging, Displays, Lasers, Semiconductors; and Sensors, Wearables, IoT.

The semi-finalists are as follows:

Track 1: BioPhotonics, Point of Care


An optoacoustic guide with augmented reality technique for precision breast conserving surgery. Lu Lan, Purdue University

CancerView: Helping surgeons perform better breast cancer surgery

There's a need for better tools to help surgeons to remove all cancer tissue in a single surgery, and CancerView is a product that can help. Erik Schartner, Centre for Nanoscale BioPhotonics, The University of Adelaide

d'Biomager: 4D Microscope Camera

The world’s first true 4D microscope camera that can be attached to any existing light microscope. Rachel Wang, d'Optron Pte Ltd

EarID/Computational Ear Imaging

Computational ear imaging for accurate detection of ear infectionsAnshuman Das, MIT

Lumedica "OQ" EyeScope

The Lumedica OQ EyeScope is a medical technology that is simple, accurate and affordable. Scott Whitney, Lumedica Inc.

Nanodevices for cellular therapy

Using lasers and nanotechnology to cure any viral or genetic disease that affects the bloodNabiha Saklayen, Harvard University


NU-RISE has innovative technologies for breast and prostate cancer. Luis Moutinho, University of Aveiro, and NU-RISE

Raydiant Oximetry, Inc.

Noninvasive fetal oximetry during labor and delivery. Nicole Hlava, Raydiant Oximetry, Inc.

Track 2: Imaging, Display, Laser


Faster 3D vision with a LIDAR system on chip. Claude Florin, Fastree3D


LightOn's processors address the issues of scalability and sustainability of Artificial Intelligence. We use light to build the future of computing. Laurent Daudet, LightOn

Microspherical Nanoscopy

Low cost method for increasing resolution on a traditional optical microscope without resorting to complicated methods like NSOM or STED. It is compatible with any microscope, taking up no space, and without altering lab procedures. Vasily Astratov, UNC-Charlotte

Nanolayered GRIN Optical Lenses

GRIN polymer lenses offer high contrast, color corrected, wide field of view (+30°) while simultaneously decreasing optical system weight of glass configurations by 30 – 60%. Adin Pfeuffer, Peak Nano Optics

Portable Precision Profilometer

A group from MIT is developing portable high precision 3D scanners with a low-cost to bridge the current commercial scanner market gaps. Renjie Zhou, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Real time Display of Several Depths

Real time multiple OCT slicer.  Adrian Podoleanu, University of Kent/Optopod Ltd

RGB Laser Light Module for AR/VR

Ultra-compact RGB MEMS laser scanner for AR and VR applications. Joerg Reitterer, TriLite Technologies GmbH

Track 3: Sensors, Wearables, IOT

Fresh Strips

Ensuring quality for food. Koen Nickmans, Fresh Strips

IC Touch

Allows blind or visually impaired people to “see” by translation of visual information captured by a camera to spatial tactile stimulation of their cornea. Zeev Zalevsky, Bar Ilan University, and IC Touch


An optical wireless communication middleware for Internet of Things in connected cars marketGloria Eisman, Lightbee SL


A "smoke detector" for drinking water. LiqWiz is an in-line IoT based spectrophotometer and analysis platform for automatic detection of EPA-specified chemicals and contaminants in drinking water. Ivan Maleev, LiqWiz LLC


The nutrition expert in healthy and scientific breastfeeding management for every mom and baby.  Qiaochu Li, Sensii, Inc

Think Biosolution

QuasaR - the world's first camera powered multi-parameter fitness tracker. Koushik Kumar Nundy, Think Biosolution Limited


Your personal sun protection expert. Enjoy the sun. Safely. Larisa Kryuchkova, uvisio

And the winners are...

On Wednesday 1 February from 3:30 to 6 p.m. in room 103 in the Moscone Center (South), judges will select the top six pitches from the semi-final round. The top six presenters compete for $10,000 from Jenoptik and $5,000 in products from Edmund Optics.

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