In This Issue

  • Mergers
  • A New York State Telescope
  • The New Normal
  • Researchers Prove Optical Lift
  • Video Profiles
  • Networking Events
  • Events & Conferences

Geospatial Systems Acquired

Geospatial Systems, Inc. announced that its operations and assets have been acquired by Optech Incorporated, the world’s leading manufacturer of advanced lidar survey instruments.

“Photogrammetric imagery and lidar data collection technologies continue to merge into a single mainstream technology,” said Don Carswell, Optech’s President. "We are very impressed by GSI's capabilities in the design, engineering and manufacturing of georeferenced metric electro-optical, infrared (EO/IR) and multispectral imaging systems. Their high-performance cameras, robust packaging and powerful image processing capabilities will enable the further fusion of our lidar and imaging solutions. This acquisition aligns with our focus on extending our customer-oriented products and support; and we believe that all of Optech’s clients will appreciate the benefits of having a single provider that meets their needs for integrated active and passive imaging instruments and solutions.”

GSI has a recognized track record in the design and manufacture of ruggedized, high-precision, metric imaging systems for airborne applications, including many implementations with Optech’s ALTM lidar systems. TerraPix, which includes a range of metric sensors, is a common platform for delivering custom solutions tailored to its customer’s Airborne Survey and Mapping, Asset Management, and Tactical Intelligence Reconnaissance and Surveillance (ISR) requirements. The TerraPix DGX architecture provides camera control, inertial navigation system integration and image processing capabilities; and enables single and multi-sensor solutions that combine visible, multispectral and infrared modules into integrated payloads. Optech’s clients will now benefit from the full integration of GSI’s TerraPix systems with Optech’s world-class solutions.

“We are very pleased to join Optech’s growing global organization,” says Max Elbaz, President and CEO of GSI. “The integration of GSI imaging expertise with Optech lidar imaging expertise and their worldwide market leadership will increase the value we provide to our customers across vertical markets, and will strengthen our capabilities to further support the evolving needs of our common global customer base.”

GSI's current product line will be maintained and will evolve to meet the needs of Optech’s diverse client base. Leveraging GSI's existing engineering staff, GSI’s Rochester, NY location will become Optech’s base for imaging systems development. The location will also be expanded to serve as the base for U.S. sales and support for Optech’s complete product lines for airborne, terrestrial and mobile applications. Mr. Elbaz will continue in his current position, and will lead Optech’s expansion in the U.S. commercial and ISR markets.


Syntec Profiled On The Web

Syntec Optics is being featured as one of Western New York's premier life sciences companies by a website created by the University of Buffalo that is dedicated to enhancing the region's workforce. iSciwny.com was developed with grant funding provided by the New York State Department of Labor, Bank of America and Life Technologies.syntec

One video is a Virtual Tour of Syntec Optics featuring Optical Analyst Dan Morgan. Another highlights Syntec's Secondary Operations and features Jack Rhodes and the third is an interview with Assistant Production Supervisor Tracy Watkins.


RIT Researchers First to Prove Existence of Stable Optical Lift

Process Uses Beam of Light to Move, Manipulate Particles

A team of researchers from Rochester Institute of Technology has proven the existence of stable optical lift—the use of a beam of light to move and manipulate particles in the micrometer scale (similar to how air is used to achieve airplane flight).

The technique has significant applications in a host of fields, including biotechnology, astrophysics and microelectronics, and it eventually could be used to power micro-machines or enable long-distance space travel.

“Airplanes and automobile spoilers use the concept of aerodynamic lift to achieve movement,” notes Grover Swartzlander, joint associate professor in RIT’s Department of Physics and the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science. “Our computer model predicts and our experiments prove that sustained optical lift is possible and can be used to make particles move perpendicular to the direction of the light flow. Combined with the previously known ‘levitation force’ of light, the specially shaped particles can be made to ‘fly.’ ”

Swartzlander’s team first developed computerized simulations to test the process and then created a laboratory experiment using milliwatt-scale laser light and microscopic semi-cylindrical rods. As expected, when illuminated with the laser light, the rods exhibited both a “levitation force” in the direction of the beam and a “lift force” perpendicular to the beam.

The rod also rotated into a stable orientation and subsequently underwent uniform motion. Unlike optical tweezers, which is an alternative method to manipulate particles with a focused beam of light, optical lift occurs in uniform illumination. Numerous rods could be simultaneously lifted and moved in a single uniform beam of light.

Swartzlander says the same force could be used to power micro-motors in biomedical devices or provide a means to steer solar sails designed to send crafts deep into space.


RRPC Networking: Inellectual Property

RRPC Member, Harris Beach will host RRPC Networking on Tuesday, March 15, 2011 at their facility at 99 Garnsey Road, in Pittsford, NY.

Neil Slifkin, the leader of the Intellectual Property practice group at Harris Beach PLLC, will talk about Intellectual Property: International Patents and Trademarks, an ever changing area of concern to many RRPC members.

Slifkin is a member of the International Trademark Association ( INTA) and regularly litigates all types of intellectual property actions including patent, trademark, copyright and trade dress infringement action. He also serves as local counsel in numerous intellectual property actions pending in the United States District Courts for the Western and Northern districts of New York.

In addition to representing clients in litigation, Mr. Slifkin represents technology companies in negotiating and documenting intellectual property transactions, including product development projects and intellectual property purchases, sales and licensing.

Mr. Slifkin also prepares and prosecutes patent applications in a wide variety of technologies including complex mechanical systems, optical technologies, electrical components, lighting components, sporting goods, medical devices, and others. He has also prosecuted patent appeals before the Patent Board of Appeals and Interferences.

Mr. Slifkin holds CLE's for attorneys, speaks at international trade conferences, and published, in 2009, “Trademark Protection”, a chapter in Inside the Minds: Trademark Protection and Enforcement, an Aspatore books, Thompson business publication.

Contact Tom Battley to confirm your attendance.


Events and Conferences

SPIE Photonics West
22 - 27 January 2011
Moscone Center
San Francisco, CA, USA

SPIE Medical Imaging
12 - 17 February 2011
Orlando, Florida, USA

6 - 10 March 2011
Los Angeles, California, USA

SPIE Defense, Security & Sensing
25 - 29 April 2011
Orlando World Center Marriott
Orlando, Florida, USA

1 - 6 May 2011
Baltimore, Maryland, USA

9 - 12 May 2011

Rochester, New York, USA

Laser World of Photonics, Munich
23 - 26 May, 2011
Munich, Germany

Frontiers In Optics / Laser Science
16 - 20 October 2011
San Jose, California, USA


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State Of Affairs, 2011

Source: Bank of America Merrill Lynch, November 23, 2010


The US is still the global manufacturing powerhouse.

It is true that the mix of the US economy has been slowly shifting away from manufacturing toward services for a long time. But the idea that nothing is made in the US anymore is simply untrue. In fact, the US was still the largest manufacturer as of 2008, making up 17.5% of the world’s total manufacturing output. Furthermore, when focusing on the value-added production (as defined by the World Bank), the US contribution is more than 2/3 higher than the next largest producer, China.

... and the US remains a leading global exporter

The US fell from its top spot as the global leader in gross exports of goods in 2002, but remains firmly in the top 3 alongside Germany and China. The US is also a big service exporter. Services are 30% of gross US exports. US exports being 30% services and 70% goods has been the steady ratio for years.



In Pursuit of a Large Astronomical Telescope for New York


The New York Astronomical Corporation (NYAC) and the associated Astronomical Society of New York (ASNY)were founded about 40 years ago with the principal goal of developing a large telescope for the NY astronomical community. Despite some initial success;, that telescope never came into being, and the ASNY became largely an organization for scientific collaboration, and support to students of astronomy. On August 3, 2010, the NYAC called for new proposals for a NY telescope. One proposal, to build the largest telescope in the world, is being put forward by a consortium of universities led by Dr. Stefi Baum, Director of the Rochester Institute of Technology’s Carlson Center for Advanced Imaging.


The Astronomical Telescope of New York (ATNY) proposal is for a 12 meter class telescope with a total collecting area of 126 m2; about 1.75 times larger than the Keck Telescopes. The telescope is a Ritchey Chretien design intended for general purpose visible/IR wavelength astronomy. Two Nasmyth instrument platforms allow the telescope to field two major instruments or one large instrument and a suite of smaller instruments; allowing NY universities the opportunity to pursue development of funding and capabilities to build astronomical instrumentation in their laboratories. This would represent a significant opportunity for the photonics community of NY.


The primary mirror is made up of 126 hexagonal segments of Corning’s ULE glass. Optical polishing of these segments would most likely employ a process already developed by ITT of Rochester under funding by the Thirty Meter Telescope project of the University of California. Optical coating might well be performed by EMF of Ithaca, NY, in the business of electro-deposition of optical coatings since 1939. Toptica Inc. of Victor, NY is developing high power lasers for artificial adaptive optic guide stars under contract to Keck and the European Southern Observatory and would similarly support ATNY. The dome for the telescope is proposed to be a unique Calotte design with geodesic type structures which could be provided by Triodetic of Syracuse, NY. A goal of the project is to keep as much NY funding in NY as possible enhancing photonics and economic development in parallel with astronomical research.


The telescope is projected to cost $70M, much less than previous segmented telescopes though more than the 10 m Hobby Eberly Telescope built by the University of Texas about 15 years ago. Funding is anticipated to come from other partners outside New York New State, NY foundations and individual donors, and possibly from the university partners. The goal is access for all NY institutions and significant growth of astronomical research, instrumentation, and education. Proposals are due to ASNY on 10 January 2011 and a decision as to which proposed project they intend to support should be forthcoming in early 2011.


Development of the concept was funded by RIT, and performed by Xoptx LLC of Ithaca, NY with participation of industrial subcontractors. Those interested in joining as industrial or academic partners can contact Dr. Stefi Baum baum[at]cis.rit.edu or Thomas A. Sebring tsebring[at]xoptx.com.


V.C. Corner

The New Normal


As a father of a child who recently started middle school, I am becoming reacquainted with certain basic math concepts. Perhaps that’s why I appreciate economist David Rosenberg’s description of the current economic situation: “a parabolic credit cycle gone into reverse.” If visually oriented, you can see a rising curve showing the massive amounts of debt consumers accumulated over two decades. Then picture 2008, when our financial system almost failed, and the trend curve suddenly shifting and going downward in the opposite direction.

As a father of that middle school student, teaching values and responsibility is top of mind. I can’t resist projecting some of my parental moralizing on society as a whole. We spent many years living beyond our means. It wasn’t sustainable and we’re suffering the consequences. And, many actors contributed to the factors that led to the painful outcome. Many of us drank the Kool-Aid.

Traditional recessions are a natural part of the business cycle and are sometimes referred to as “inventory” recessions. We are encountering a “balance sheet” recession triggered by a near failure of our financial system. The latter is more damaging and something few us of lived through. We face years of healing before we return to a sustainable economic expansion. That means the data from previous recessions is not particularly germane. So, beware of comparisons.

We face a period of fragility and volatility. The market bounce in 2008 was similar to the bounce off the lows in 1930. September’s 9% increase in the S&P 500 was the biggest September gain since 1935. We don’t talk about 1930 or 1935 as being attractive periods to invest. Thus, I continue my admonition about “playing defense.”

By “defense” I don’t mean hording cash and adopting a wait-and-see attitude. I want to clearly state my conviction about the importance of being invested. I espouse portfolio diversification as the way to protect and preserve one’s wealth from the uncertain future. I describe my approach as being defensive because many of my investment choices are in traditionally conservative asset classes, such as fixed income and blue chip stocks. I look for money managers, some of whom are hedge fund managers, that have a long history of low volatility returns. I also select superior defensive managers based upon their performance during 2008, when many markets experienced their worst year.

Returning to the theme of the New Normal, the emerging economies now present the more fiscally responsible and higher growth opportunities. However, it is wise to exercise caution when considering how to invest in them. It is important to keep in mind that Wall Street has latched onto this theme and is creating products that may not work out the way sales material imply.

One final thought regarding the New Normal: the markets are functioning differently than they did prior to the Great Recession. Government stimulus, financial system stress, regulatory changes and deleveraging are some of the variables causing unusual activity. Stocks in the S&P 500 now trade with greater correlation to the movement of the whole index. That means stock pickers (e.g, mutual fund managers) are finding it more difficult to beat the index. Another example is the anemic trading volume, which has fallen to its lowest level in years.


Richard A. Glaser is a financial advisor at Merrill Lynch where he specializes in working with entrepreneurs and their companies. richard_glaser@ml.com


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