My journey to edge-breaking photo-optical technologies at SPIE 2020

Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE) is an annual exhibition of edge-breaking photonic technologies. This year’s exhibition took place at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA from Saturday, February 1 through Thursday, February 6, 2020.

The exhibition showed so many technologies that blew my mind! For example, Canon has developed a “micro-camera” with a radius length of only 2.5mm and a resolution of 5 million (pixels). It can fit into nearly all crevices of a biomedical device and can thus be used to probe technical failures that originate from tiny bits of the device’s structure. Another impressive display from a company called PhotoSound showcased techniques of combining two technologies: ultrasound and photonics. This generates an image of the internal body of small animals such as mice and rabbits with high resolution and depth of field. With this technology, biological in-vivo tests can be more efficient and accurate. Even after five years of education, after seeing these technologies, I still find myself a beginner in this field. It was a motivation to keep gaining new technical knowledge so that I can apply the knowledge to solve real-world problems.

In addition to the strong technical aspect of the exhibit, I was also impressed by the communication skills of technicians. I was able to talk to some companies in order to help build our network (our capstone partner is a startup). Previously, I thought technicians were all good at thinking but weak at expressing their thoughts. The conversation proved me totally wrong. Their fluency in introducing their products, confidence in responding to my questions, ability to bounce back with high quality questions and their sharp manner of enlivening the conversation shocked me a lot. In the future, I will definitely have to do the same work as they do such as presenting in front of different kinds of people, talking about contracts with other companies and promoting new technologies in an exhibition or conference. But my ability to communicate still requires a large amount of practice and room for improvement.

About the author:

Zhihan Hu, graduated from the University of California, San Diego in 2019, is currently enrolled in the Master of Engineering (MEng) program in the University of California, Berkeley. His major is Material Science and Engineering with a focus on NanoTechnology and Semiconductor. Connect with Zhihan.

Master of Engineering at UC Berkeley with a focus on leadership. Learn more about the program through our publication.