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19 July 2021 – 23 July 2021 OSA Virtual Event - Pacific Daylight/Summer Time (UTC - 07:00)

Smart Cities Application for Optical Sensors and Sensing Topical Meetings

Smart cities bring together infrastructure, smart governance, big data, and technology.  By incorporating technology into the urban environment, the performance and interactions of services such as energy, transportation, communications, and utilities are better integrated and more effectively used.  As a result, the quality of life of citizens is improved and environmental impacts reduced.  Optical Sensing has a critical role to play in smart cities!  

Optics and Photonics is already broadly proliferated in the cities to provide functions ranging from simple infrared elevator safety switches to complex optical networks providing efficient communication backbone.  In this Innovation Challenge, you have the opportunity to envision new areas where light and technological innovations in optics and photonics can become an enabling technology in smart cities. Think out of the box and propose unique optical sensing solutions to important problems that will enable truly smart cities of the future with smart ecosystem of technology, communication, services and thriving citizens. The innovative solutions can be focused on new optical sensor ideas, novel applications of existing optical sensing technologies (such as LIDAR, distributed optical fiber sensing or integrated photonics sensors), innovative infrastructure employing optical sensors (e.g. LiFi), advanced optical sensor signal processing, or any other innovations leveraging optical and photonic sensing solutions. Help define the future of optical sensing in smart cities and everyday life!  

Solutions will be judged on the following:

  • Compliance: is the idea submission complete and does it comply with the rules of the challenge?
  • Novelty: does the idea describe a novel approach to providing a solution?
  • Originality: how original is the proposed technology or use of existing technology?
  • Relevance: How well does the idea relate to the topic and provide a solution aligned with the goals of this challenge?
  • Feasibility: how likely can the idea be prototyped?

The Innovation Challenge seeks to explore trends, opportunities, disruptions and major shifts potentially enabled by optics and photonics.  Challenge submissions should highlight innovative solutions to topic specific challenges.

The Challenge will be open to students and their advisors and early-career professionals*. The Challenge problems are unique to each congress and are determined by a subcommittee representing each topical. *OSA defines early career professionals as those within five years of leaving academic study and starting a full time career.

Individuals or teams are invited to submit concepts based on the unique challenge in the form of a 50-100‐word description and accompanying visuals (highly recommended forms include: 3-minute video presentation (provided via YouTube link) and a summary slide; additional materials can include: additional videos, pictures, charts, graphs, system mock-ups or demos) highlighting the novelty, originality and feasibility of the concept.

Submissions will be evaluated by a committee of Congress leadership with up to four finalists (two students and two early career professionals) selected to attend the meeting and present a 3‐minute synopsis of their concept during a general session as well as to host a visual demonstration during a conference poster session. One representative from each finalist will receive a travel stipend to cover airfare, hotel and congress registration for the congress.

Two winners (one student and one early career professional) will be chosen based on popular vote via the meeting mobile app and announced on‐site at the end of the Congress.   Winners will receive a 3-year OSA membership.

For questions, please contact

*Submission form will be available on this page in Fall 2021*