The 2007 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 2007 as chosen by each magazine’s readers. Also honored at the event were the winners of the sixth annual Create the Future Design Contest, presented by SolidWorks Corp.

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 were asked to choose the products they feel were the most significant new introductions to the engineering community in 2007. The top three products from each magazine are honored as Product of the Year winners.

Astro-Med of West Warwick, RI, took home the first NTB Product of the Year for its Dash 32HF multi-channel, high-frequency data acquisition recorder. Engineered to capture high-frequency data and transient signals, the unit records up to 32 channels to an internal hard drive at sample rates up to 500 kHz, and a bandwidth of 100 KHz per channel.

The 2007 NASA Tech Briefs Product of the Year winners (fromleft): Mark Knighton, CEO of NextEngine; Jeff Ray, CEO ofSolidWorks Corp.; Peter Nadeau, Product Manager of Astro-Med; and Linda Bell, NASA Tech Briefs Editorial Director.

The award was accepted by Peter M. Nadeau, Product Manager of Astro-Med’s Test & Measurement Product Group. “I’d like to thank the readers of NASA Tech Briefs. We’d also like to thank you on behalf of all of our team who designed, developed, and manufactured this product in Rhode Island. It is made right here in the United States.”

For more information on Astro- Med’s Dash 32HF, click here .

The next winner was NextEngine of Santa Monica, CA, for its Desktop 3D Scanner, a full-color multi-laser scanner that scans complex shapes for CAD and 3D design applications on the desktop. About the size of a cereal box, the scanner connects directly to a PC via USB 2.0. It operates with proprietary MultiStripe Laser Triangulation (MLT) technology that features twin arrays of four Class 1M 10-mW solid-state lasers with custom optics at a 650-nm wavelength.

Mark Knighton, CEO of NextEngine, accepted the award, saying that “When I was an electrical engineering student at UCLA, my professor handed me this magazine called NASA Tech Briefs. It was the enablement of what we were dreaming about and wanted to do. Ever since then, I’ve been a NASA Tech Briefs reader.” He added, “Thank you to NASA Tech Briefs for this great publication, which is sort of the bible for people who create things. And thanks to the readers of NASA Tech Briefs, who we make this product for.”

For more information on NextEngine’s desktop 3D scanner, click here .

The final NTB Product of the Year went to SolidWorks Corp. of Concord, MA, for their SolidWorks 2008 3D CAD software that features a new user interface and 3D graphics, an enhancement of the SolidWorks Intelligent Feature Technology (SWIFT), and advanced design analysis capabilities. A new intuitive workflow predicts which tools users will need in the context of a specific task, and makes them readily available.

Jeff Ray, SolidWorks CEO, accepted the award. “The challenges we face right now are not the challenges that are going to be solved by politicians or lawmakers. They’re going to be solved by engineers and designers. All of us at SolidWorks are grateful to play a very small role in that by providing a tool to help solve those problems.”

For more information on SolidWorks 2008 3D CAD software, click here .

The winners of the Photonics Tech Briefs Product of the Year awards were presented by PTB Editor Bruce Bennett. The first award went to Agilent Technologies of Santa Clara, CA, for the N4917A optical receiver stress test set that allows users to accurately characterize and verify standard conformance of receive optical subassemblies and transceiver modules operating up to 12.5 Gb/s.

The 2007 Photonics Tech Briefs Product of the Year winners (fromleft): Thomas Root, President & CEO of OPTIM; Bruce Bennett,Editor of Photonics Tech Briefs; Halmo Fischer, Project Manager atAgilent Technologies; and Joseph Fillion, Product MarketingManager at FEI.

The award was accepted by Halmo Fischer, Project Manager at Agilent Technologies, who said, “Thank you to the readers of Photonics Tech Briefs for making this possible. It was really a surprise to receive this award. The entire team is very proud of this honor.”

For more information on Agilent’s optical receiver stress test set, click here .

The second award for PTB Product of the Year was given to FEI of Hillsboro, OR, for the Phenom™ microscope, bridging the performance gap between optical and scanning electron microscope (SEM) technologies. Capable of yielding magnification up to 20,000X, and with an ultimate resolution of 30nm, the Phenom addresses a variety of applications including quality assurance, product development, research, and testing.

In accepting the award, Joseph Fillion, Product Marketing Manager, said, “We’d like to thank the readers. Like any parent, you’re very proud of your own child, but when someone else tells you that you have a great product, it’s a great honor.”

For more information on FEI’s Phenom microscope, click here .

The final PTB winner was OPTIM of Sturbridge, MA, for the FreedomView™ LED fiberscope, a handheld portable inspection device that combines a high-intensity LED light source with a flexible insertion shaft that can be fully immersed in water, gasoline, or diesel fuel. Thomas Root, President and CEO of OPTIM, accepted the award. “I’d like to thank the editors of Photonics Tech Briefs for that first Product of the Month recognition. And to the readers, we’re very proud of what we did, and we thank you.”

For more information on OPTIM’s FreedomView LED fiberscope, click here .

Create the Future Winners

Also honored at the event were the winners of the NASA Tech Briefs Create the Future Design Contest, presented by SolidWorks Corporation, and co-sponsored by COMSOL, Hewlett- Packard, and Hong Kong Polytechnic. The six category winners and the Grand Winner were presented by SolidWorks CEO, Jeff Ray.

“This contest recognizes and rewards innovation, and I can’t think of a more appropriate time to be discussing and celebrating innovation than right now, because, quite frankly, out of chaos and crisis comes great thinking and great new ideas,” he said. “At SolidWorks, we call it the ‘emotional paycheck:’ every day, we get to see brilliant minds and brilliant ideas that ultimately become brilliant things that improve peoples’ lives. We’re very grateful that you would consider us as a sponsor for this great event,” said Ray.

Grand Winners of the Create the Future Design Contest (fromleft): Michael P. Kohnen II, inventor of Litroenergy; Jeff Ray, CEOof SolidWorks; Steve Stark; and Brian Kuker.

“For this year’s contest, the seven winners are the seven best out of almost 1,000 entries. It’s an amazing record, and I don’t know of any other contest that gets this kind of attention. Two of the winners are students, and I think it’s very important that we recognize and celebrate those students who are working on tomorrow’s problems right now,” noted Ray.

Steve Stark and Michael P. Kohnen II of MPK Co. accepted the Grand Winner award of $20,000 for Litroenergy™, a light source material that emits light continuously for more than 20 years with no exposure to light or other energy source.

Said Stark in accepting the award, “It is a great honor to win this. The material is just absolutely amazing. Mike Kohnen had been in business making glow material, and I met him and he showed me this light source that emits light continuously for 20-plus years. It has so many broad applications,” Stark explained. “One of the most exciting things is thread — having different colors of lighted clothes. You can wash it and dry it — it’s not affected by heat or cold. And I just can’t imagine all of the ways this can be used. It’s light wherever you need it at low cost. So we’re very excited and honored to be here and recognized for this achievement.”

The six category winners also were on hand to accept their awards. Stephen Boynton won the Consumer Products category for his LED Cocoon Tent. The Machinery & Equipment category top prize went to Jeremy Connell of Virginia Tech for his Cargo Management System. The Medical Category award was presented to Ajay Mahajan of Southern Illinois University Carbondale for a 3D Ultrasonic Neuronavigation System for Image-Guided Brain Surgery.

The winners of the 2007 Create the Future Design Contest (fromleft): Dr. Sumeer Lal and Ajay Mahajan (Medical); StephenBoynton (Consumer Products); Levi and Corbin Tillemann-Dick(Transportation); Ted Bristow (Sustainable Technologies); JosephHollmann (Safety & Security); Jeremy Connell (Machinery &Equipment); and Steve Stark, Brian Kuker, and Michael P. KohnenII (Grand Winners).

Joseph Hollmann of Spectral Biopsy won the Safety & Security category for his Personnel Beacon and Locator for Mine Workers. The Sustainable Technologies category winner was Ted Bristow of Creative Electric for his Ledtricity™ power source. And the Transportation category top prize went to Corban Tillemann-Dick of Tendix LLC for an Internally Radiating Impulse Structure (IRIS) Engine.

See full coverage of this year’s winners in the April issue of NASA Tech Briefs, or click here . The 2008 Create the Future contest will open for entries in July.

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the June, 2008 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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