The 2006 NASA Tech Briefs (NTB) and Photonics Tech Briefs (PTB) Readers’ Choice Product of the Year Awards were presented recently by the editors of NTB and PTB at an awards dinner in New York City. The event honored the top three products of 2006 as chosen by each magazine’s readers. Also honored at the event were the Grand-Prize and First-Prize winners of the Emhart Teknologies “Create the Future” Design Contest.

Products of the Year

Each month, the editors choose a Product of the Month, the one new product that has the most practical value and technical merit for the greatest portion of each magazine’s readership. At the end of the year, NTB and PTB readers are asked to choose the products they feel were the most significant new introductions to the engineering community in 2006. The top three products from each magazine are honored as Product of the Year winners.

The 2006 Photonics Tech Briefs Product of the Year winners (from left): Victor Sapirstein, Chairman and CEO of Lambda Solutions; Domenico Assalone, Director and Site Manager Oriel Product Line, at Newport Corp.; Linda Bell, PTB Editorial Director; and Gary Pitre, Eastern Regional Sales Manager at Toshiba Imaging Systems Division.

The first NASA Tech Briefs winner was Adobe Systems of San Jose, CA, for Adobe® Acrobat® 3D software that enables engineers to publish and share 3D design information from major CAD applications with virtually any computer user, allowing collaboration within design and manufacturing teams. Users can convert 3D designs from proprietary CAD formats into cross-platform, secure Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) files.

The award was accepted by Pierre Tager, Group Product Manager, Acrobat 3D, in the Knowledge Worker Business Unit. “Adobe is proud to be honored with a 2006 Product of the Year award, as Acrobat 3D marked an important milestone in the company’s ongoing effort to deliver a first-class 3Dbased collaboration tool,” Tager said. “We believe Acrobat 3D is a revolutionary product for the manfacturing industry, and we’re extremely thankful to NASA Tech Briefs’ readers for their recognition of its strong value and the productivity gains it can bring to CAD, CAM an CAE users.”

For more information on Adobe Acrobat 3D, click here .

The 2006 NASA Tech Briefs Product of the Year winners (from left): Grant Smith, President of Dewetron, Inc.; Linda Bell, NTB Editorial Director; Tracey Mulcahy, Marketing Manager at Z Corporation; and Pierre Tager, Group Product Manager, Acrobat 3D, at Adobe Systems.

The second NTB winner was Dewetron of Charles-town, RI, for its DA-130 rugged notebook computer that includes the company’s proprietary SideHAND® battery power system, allowing it to run indefinitely without any external power source. Batteries are hot-swappable, and can be exchanged even when the system is running off battery power. It has a full-length, full-size PCI slot, allowing virtually any PCI card to be installed.

Grant Smith, president of Dewetron, accepted the award, saying that, “We were amazed and gratfied to be selected as a Product of Month. But for a company with only 15 employees to win Product of the Year when so many contestants were billiondollar companies was just incredible.” He added, “I credit our customers, who feel passionately about their Dewetron products, and who must have voted for us in large numbers. We are still in shock and humbled to have won.”

For more information on Dewetron’s DA-130, click here .

The final NTB award went to Z Corporation of Burlington, MA, for the ZScanner‘ 700, a handheld, self-positioning 3D scanner that can digitize 3D surfaces in real time. The scanner is part-referenced, orienting itself to the target object, rather than to an external device. This eliminates the need for fixed-position tripods, mechanical arms, or other positioning devices.

Tracey Mulcahy, Marketing Manager, accepted the award. In a statement, Tom Clay, CEO, said “NASA Tech Briefs is a recognized authority in the engineering community, so we’re delighted that its highly informed readership appreciates the value of what the ZScanner 700 offers to the design engineering and manufacturing community and beyond.”

For more information on Z Corporation’s ZScanner 700, click here .

For Photonics Tech Briefs Product of the Year, the first winner was Lambda Solutions of Waltham, MA, for the Dimension-P Series Raman spectrometers that provide real-time analysis and monitoring in pharmaceutical or food processing quality control. The systems are operated via RamanSoft™ software that features proprietary algorithms and automation capability for data acquisition, data processing, and data analysis.

In accepting the award, Victor Sapirstein, Chairman and CEO, said, “It is an honor. We are very pleased because even though we design all of our own products, we use Newport components in our system, and we do a lot of our component design using SolidWorks. It is nice to meet those people; they are great companies. To be in their company is a great honor.”

For more information on Lambda Solutions’ Dimension-P Series, click here .

Newport Corporation of Irvine, CA, took home a PTB award for the Helios pump-probe transient absorption spectrometer used to monitor extremely short-lived optically absorbing states. The system is completely turnkey, including all of the optics, optomechanics, the delay line, spectrometer in the optical unit, and a PC containing the data acquisition hardware and software.

Domenico Assalone, Director and Site Manager of Newport’s Oriel Product Line, accepted the award. “Thank you to the readers of PTB for recognizing the importance of our product and selecting it as a Product of the Year. Newport’s Ultrafast Transabsorption Spectroscopy System is a significant addition to the spectroscopist’s tool set.”

For more information on Newport’s Helios system, click here .

The final PTB Product of the Year was presented to Toshiba Imaging Systems Division of Irvine, CA, which won for the IK-TF9C three-chip, color CCD camera with proprietary scan technology that eliminates image-jitter for high-speed industrial machine vision applications. Designed for integration into any machine vision system that requires high resolution and precision color definition, the camera is weighs 165 g and measures 44 × 44 × 78.3 mm.

Accepting the award was Gary Pitre, Eastern Regional Sales Manager. “This prestigious award is very meaningful to Toshiba for a couple of reasons. The first is because our product is a very unique product for very unique applications. This award and nomination process helps spread the word to the readers,” he said. “The second reason is because as Toshiba designs and develops new products, we like to gauge how well we hit our mark. This award strongly indicates our success in the development of this 3-megapixel 3CCD color camera,” Pitre added.

For more information on Toshiba’s IK-TF9C camera, click here .

Design Contest Winners

The winners of the Emhart Teknologies “Create the Future” design contest were honored at the event. From left: NASA Tech Briefs Publisher Joe Pramberger; Buck Albritton, First-Prize winner; David Torrey, Grand-Prize Winner; and Russell Gieselman, Director of Sales & Marketing at Emhart Teknologies.

The Grand-Prize and First-Prize winners in the Emhart Teknologies “Create the Future” design contest also were honored at the event. Grand-Prize winner David Torrey of Advanced Energy Conversion LLC, said “I am both thrilled and humbled by taking top honors. There are an awful lot of smart, capable people in this world. It’s gratifying to get included in their company. Also, I would add that for an engineer, creating something new is one of the existential pleasures of our profession. Having one of my creations recognized for being ingenious and useful is a big thrill.”

Also on hand was First-Prize winner Buck Albritton of GearMax. “The contest provided tremendous exposure bringing the greatest potential for success in licensing the new product and getting it to market,” he said. “The need for the product design was realized about four years ago when my brother and I watched the news report of rescue workers searching by hand for potential survivors through demolished buildings. We thought a tool that could put a handle on such jobs would speed the work and reduce fatigue. We believe the final result of the years of development could be beneficial in every day jobs around the house as well,” Albritton added.

The Future of “Create the Future”

For the past five years, Emhart Teknologies has been the primary sponsor for the “Create the Future” Design Contest. For 2007, SolidWorks Corporation of Concord, MA, has proudly assumed the role of primary sponsor. COMSOL Inc. of Burlington, MA, continues with the contest as a cosponsor of the event.

Create the Future design contest sponsors pass the torch (from left): Russ Gieselman of Emhart Teknologies, primary sponsor of this year’s contest; Joe Pramberger, NTB Publisher; Svante Littmarck, President and CEO of COMSOL, Inc., a co-sponsor of this year’s contest; and Steve Traher, Marketing Communications Manager of SolidWorks Corp., the new primary sponsor for the 2007 contest.

“We are thrilled to participate as the primary sponsor of this timehonored competition,” said Solid- Works Corporation’s Marketing Communications Manager, Steve Traher. “It celebrates the essence of engineering — the ‘aha!’ moment when someone comes up with a truly innovative idea for dramatically improving an existing product or inventing an entirely new one. Competitors in the Create the Future Design Contest, and the product designers and engineers that we meet every day, never fail to astonish us with their ingenuity,” Traher added.

For more information on the 2007 Create the Future Design Contest, see page 5 of this issue.

See full coverage of this year’s contest winners in the April issue of NASA Tech Briefs, or visit

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the June, 2007 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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