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research or laser engineering for solid applications. But it also supports a program
for, yes, “open photonics.” Open Photonics
was the headline for a collective booth with
about a dozen related projects.
And their results are remarkable. Mirco
Imlau from the Osnabrück University
builds optical components using toys.
Not puppies, but Lego, Fischer Technik,
and other stuff that a seven-year old child
would easily recognize. He builds optical
tables, mirror holders, motorized translation stages, and many more pieces for
regular photonics labs.
In reality, the price is not always much
Lasers, VR goggles,
lower than with professional equipment.
But some customers have different needs,
as Imlau discovered. Researchers from
Uganda said: “After a sandstorm, we can
forget about the professional optical ta-
bles. But the Lego stuff we clean in our
water well and it’s fine again.” Or a start-
up founder who was happy to put an op-
tical table and other equipment into his
suitcases. He can easily setup the equip-
ment at customer sites or his lab, as needed.
and so much more
And of course, there were new laser tech-
nologies and a great range of photonics
products. To name but a few: Coherent
presented a 10 kW fiber laser, while
TRUMPF showed a technology demon-
strator, the TruDiode 4001.5, for di-rect-diode applications with 4 kW out-
put power and a beam quality as good as
5 mm•mrad, which allows a fiber connection with 150 µm diameter.
Among all the activities of the six dif-
ferent conferences, Bernard Kress from
Microsoft, one of the chairs of the newly
started SPIE conference on Digital Optical
Technologies, deserves a special mention.
Together with his team, he gave visitors the
rare opportunity to explore augmented-,
virtual-, and mixed-reality systems. The
latest devices from Microsoft (Hololens),
Oculus (CV1), HTC (Vive), and Sony
(Playstation VR) allowed for a direct im-
pression of the potential of these devices.
“Being able to fully experience and compare the world’s most advanced AR and
VR headsets in a single location is remarkable,” Kress said. “These systems will soon
revolutionize the way people communicate, teach, learn and explore, shop, play
and are entertained, and enable them to
be more productive in their personal and
Much, much more was to be discovered
in the five halls and the Congress center
during the four days of LASER World
of PHOTONICS. The halls were crowded all the time and, hence, the sentiment
among exhibitors and visitors was excellent. The next LASER fair will be held in
Munich on June 24-27, 2019.
Andreas Thoss is president of THOSS Media,
Berlin, Germany, and a contributing editor to
Laser Focus World; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org;