Edmund Optics announces 2015 Norman Edmund Inspiration Award winner

Edmund Optics has announced that Michael Stahl, a PhD student/Fellow at the Schepens Eye Research Institute in Boston, MA, USA, has won the 2015 Norman Edmund Inspiration Award for his development of a wearable device for visually impaired (VI) people that reliably detects hazards in the environment.

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Edmund Optics has announced that Michael Stahl, a PhD student/Fellow at the Schepens Eye Research Institute in Boston, MA, USA, has won the 2015 Norman Edmund Inspiration Award for his development of awearable device for visually impaired (VI) people that reliably detects hazards in the environment.

The Norman Edmund Inspiration Award is given to a program or individual to honor the contributions made by Norman Edmund to advance the science of optics. As the winner, Stahl has received $5,000 in products.

One of the criteria for selecting a winner, according to Edmund Optics, is to explain how the research project inspires others to pursue a career in optics or optical research. Stahl, who is a visually-impaired biomedical engineer, used his project to show others how innovation can work to overcome personal and professional challenges. It is his hopes that the 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 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.

Stahl’s device uses both infrared structured light and visible green structured light to highlight hazards such as steps or tripping vulnerabilities for the visually impaired in a wearable device.

"My grandfather had an unwavering commitment to inspire others to pursue science and research, especially within the field of optical innovation," said 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."

View more information on Edmund Optics’ awards.

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