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2014 Contest Winner!

Entry by:
Lumentum Logo
Lumentum (Formerly JDSU CCOP), Canada

1. Describe the profound impact your technology – as part of an end-user product – has had on Society.  How has the population been impacted by your technology. This could be behavioral, economical, societal, etc.
JDSU innovative “Cobra” laser has enabled mass deployment of 3D-sensing cameras that were previously prohibitively expensive and limited to niche industrial applications. Through partnership with Microsoft we developed a cost-effective, high performance, highly reliable illumination source for a low cost, high performance 3D camera in the Kinect.  3D sensing enables all consumers to interact with their devices naturally using bodies, gestures, eyes or voice and is expanding to multiple devices.  It provides options to move away from traditional methods (e.g. keyboards, remote controls, buttons) and enables population with physical disabilities to interact with electronic devices using their eyes, gestures, or facial expressions. Standard CMOS cameras are ineffective in accurately identifying people or objects.  With poor or unbalanced lighting a false read is common.  3D sensing is used in applications where detecting if people are near threats.
2. Tell us about how your technology is unique?  What makes it stand out? How do you differentiate it from other similar technologies?
3D sensing devices are comprised of three main elements: ASIC, sensor and illumination. Before disruptive “Cobra” laser, the industry did not have a cost effective, high performance, reliable illumination source. The consumer electronics segment requires reliability that in many respects exceeds telecom requirements.  The allowable failure rate in deployment is extremely low. JDSU needed to develop an extremely reliable laser but at consumer electronics price points and volumes. We were able to accomplish this with our broad based knowledge. Our technology leverages the high reliability of  JDSU telecom and submarine laser experience enabling us to design very precise, reliable single transverse mode lasers.  We leveraged our industrial knowledge to design packages that can tolerate high power dissipation of the lasers. We developed and acquired the expertise to merge these high performance aspects with  high-volume, cost-effective packages without compromise.
3. When first launched, did your technology make a transformational change for the end-user or was it an advancement of the prior art? Describe this.
The first generation of Kinect had high latency and limited depth resolution, it was suitable for full body tracking. To make 3D sensing more expansive, both latency and resolution had to be improved and that required a change of technology from structured light to time-of-flight.  The Cobra laser enabled a new depth camera to be deployed in mass production that improved depth resolution by several fold enabling completely new features in the Kinect –examples include facial recognition and heart rate detection.   Previously all time-of-flight based cameras used LEDs due to the high power requirements, however LEDs are inadequate due to their slow speed and poor efficiency.  The Cobra laser was a key enabler of this change of technology.
4. Give a specific example (with company names) of the buying chain for your product/technology once you sell it to the next level buyer. Provide an example of the succession of companies your product goes through, ultimately to get to an end-user.
JDSU sells Cobra laser to a CM, which is managed by Microsoft.  Microsoft uses our lasers to make the Kinect used in XBOX 360 and XBOX ONE.
5. In which vertical market(s) would you classify the end-users of this technology?
6. If other, please write in the specific market
Consumer electronics
7. Give us your one sentence “elevator pitch” you would use to tell a non-technical person about your technology and the critical role it plays in Society.
JDSU is ready to provide the reliable illumination sources and filters you need—in high volumes—to support your 3D sensing/gesture recognition systems.
8. Surprise Us!  What else should we know about your product/technology?
This product is changing the way people interact with their devices.  It gives people freedom to have a choice on how to send information to any media device. The illumination source JDSU developed has enabled broadly deployed 3D sensing. We are only seeing the start of a disruption in interactivity. 

The optical industry has struggled to reach the consumer.  With this product, JDSU is now in millions of households around the world.
9. Attachments are welcome but not required.  These could be photographs, videos, PowerPoint files, website links, etc. that further demonstrate the value of your technology.  Limit of 3.