This paper provides an overview of an innovative approach to delivering photonics up-skilling for industry. The strong emphasis of the approach is on hands-on creativity whereby participants in the up-skilling process demonstrate novel applications of principles of photonics.
Laser Photonics has been highlighted by many as THE Technology of the 21st Century. However, there are few obvious opportunities for students to see a Laser in operation in circumstances beyond some simple low power Laser Interferometry demonstrations, or the use of Laser Pointer Pens. As part of an educational initiative, PION LASER SENSORS within the University of Salford has developed a series of laboratory design and construction Projects that involve both the opportunities for, and the innovative creation of, visually attractive operative applications of low power Laser Photonics.
These highly functional Laser Photonics Projects range from the transmission of audio signals to a written alphabetical letter recognition and Braille converter sensor for a visually impaired person; from a Laser speckle eye-sight testing system to a prototype mobile robotic guide for a blind person.; from a novel type of Laser seismograph to an equally novel set of Laser measurement callipers; from a Laser activated pair of walking feet to an optical feedback system to maintain a horizontal surface within a vehicle traversing rough terrain.
This type of low power Laser Photonics design and construction Project not only provides the opportunity for students to become involved with some highly creative and innovative laboratory opportunities, but the experience clearly enthuses the students towards many aspects of Physics, Medicine, and Engineering through a sense of personal achievement resulting from a realization of their imaginative thinking sills, combined with their acquired manual skills.