Astronauts are experiencing ophthalmological changes including optic disc edema, globe flattening, choroidal folds, and significant hyperopic shifts. In a handful of cases in which it was measured, intracranial pressure as measured by lumbar punctures was elevated post-flight. The severity of symptoms is highly variable and the underlying etiology is unknown, but a spaceflight associated cephalad-fluid shift is thought to play a role. NASA requires portable, non-invasive, clinically-validated approaches to assessing the ocular and the cerebral physiological, anatomical, and functional changes. Multispectral Imaging (MSI) that enables instruments installed on satellites in space to observe Earth was applied in an ophthalmic medical device that is clinically being used on Earth and now being evaluated for use on humans in space. The Annidis RHA™ (Ottawa, Canada) uses narrow band light emitting diodes (LEDs) to create discrete slices of anatomical structures of the posterior pole of the eye. The LEDs cover a frequency range from 520 to 940 nm, which allow for specific visualization of the different features of the posterior segment of the eye including retina, choroid and optic nerve head. Interestingly, infrared illumination at 940 nm reflects from the posterior sclera, retro-illuminating the choroidal vasculature without the need for invasive contrast agents. Abnormalities in retinal, choroidal or cerebral venous drainage and/or arterial flow may contribute to the microgravity ocular syndrome (MOS) in astronauts; hence this space technology may prove to be invaluable for diagnosing not only the health of our planet but also of the humans living on it and above it.
Today's telecommunication market is characterized by conservative business practices: tight management of costs, low risk investing and incremental upgrades, rather than the more freewheeling approach taken a few years ago. Optimizing optical components for the current and near term market involves substantial integration, but within particular bounds. The emphasis on evolution, in particular, has led to increased standardization of functions and so created extensive opportunities for integrated product offerings. The same standardization that enables commercially successful integrated functions also changes the competitive environment, and changes the emphasis for component development; shifting the innovation priority from raw performance to delivering the most effective integrated products. This paper will discuss, with specific examples from our transmitter, receiver and passives product families, our understanding of the issues based on extensive experience in delivering high end integrated products to the market, and the direction it drives optical components.