OSA | Living History

Steven K. Case

OSA Awards & Distinctions



Steven K. Case, the founder and chairman of CyberOptics Corp. and an OSA Fellow, received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Michigan in 1976, and, in 1978, he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for research at the Applied Optics Institute in Erlangen, Germany. He moved to the University of Minnesota as a professor of electrical engineering, where he developed a system of laser-based sensors used as a quality control tool by circuit board manufacturers. In 1984, CyberOptics was spun out of the university into a private company. Case served as the company’s president until 1998 and became the company’s chairman in 1995, a title he retained until his death. CyberOptics has been on the Inc 100 list of fastest growing companies in America and is internationally recognized as a leader in the design and manufacture of sensors and systems for high precision inspection, measurement, and assembly in the electronics and semiconductor equipment markets.

Case also served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Avanti Optics Corporation from 2000 to 2003, President of the Surface Mount Equipment Manufacturers Association, Director of the American Electronics Association from 2000 to 2001, Adjunct Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Minnesota since 1978, and as a member of University Industry Advisory Board.

Case was elected an OSA Fellow in 1985 and was awarded the Edwin H. Land Medal in 2004 “For pioneering work in laser-based inspection systems, and the highly successful application of these systems in the electronics industry.” He served on a number of OSA committees, including the Strategic Planning Committee (2006-2007), Fellow Members Committee (2005), Nominating Committee (1996), and the Fraunhofer Award/Burley Prize Committee (1995; 2004-2005). In 2006, he was honored with the Achievement Award from the Automated Imaging Association. Case held nearly 30 patents for optical and laser devices and presented over 80 contributed and invited papers at optical and electronic conferences.

Case was a serious amateur photographer whose work decorated the board room at CyberOptics’ headquarters. He died in a tragic plane crash in 2009.

Steven K. Case died on 16 June 2009, please see OSA's memorial entry.



Document Created: 19 Feb 2020
Last Updated: 19 Feb 2020