Laser World of Photonics to feature student prototype-building competition

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Messe München has revealed two new features to be expected at the Laser World of Photonics trade fair this year: a 24-hour Makeathon (make-marathon) and guided tours of the show.

Around 31,500 visitors and 1,250 exhibitors are expected to attend the event at the Munich Trade Fair Center in Germany from 26 to 29 June.

The Laser World of Photonics is expected to play host to over 31,500 visitors and 1,250 exhibitors this year. (Credit: Messe München)

At a press event in London on 2 March, Katja Stolle, exhibition director for Messe München, explained that the new features were intended to promote the photonics industry to potential new members, and give those less familiar with the industry a chance to meet and talk personally with particular exhibitors at the show.

The Makeathon will be a 24-hour software and hardware development competition in which participating teams of students and young engineers compete to produce preliminary prototypes. Between 80 and 100 students are expected at the show this year, with 10 to 20 per cent of these predicted to be international. With an ever-increasing need for newer, younger members in the photonics industry, the Makeathon is intended to promote innovation and recruitment in aspiring students and engineers.

In addition to the competition, guided tours will take place for the first time this year. They have been provide new attendees who aren’t familiar with the industry the chance to meet and speak to four or five companies exhibiting at the show. Tour members will be introduced to each exhibitor and its employees in turn, allowing them to gain an insight into the industry and potentially make beneficial contacts.

The tours will cover a variety of topics, such as the trends in remote laser processing, laser material processing for e-mobility applications, and what the Internet of Things (IoT) means for laser material processing. The IoT, along with the topic of Photonics 4.0 (light-based solutions of the production of the future, according to Stolle) will also be the focus of the Photonics Forum taking place in one of the exhibition halls, organised by Spectaris.

Particular focus at the show this year will be paid towards sensors, laser material processing, imaging and additive manufacturing – the dynamic growth areas in which optical technologies provide a clear boost to productivity and process reliability. Stolle explained that agricultural science is also an application area of growing interest in the photonics industry. In response to this, the organisers are reaching out to more companies that supply photonics technology to this sector to encourage them to either attend or exhibit at the show.

This year, 56 per cent of visitors and 61 per cent of exhibitors will come from overseas to explore the 55,000m2 of exhibition space. As always, a wealth of optical technology innovations and enhancements will be showcased, both on the booths of exhibitors and at the various application panels available to attendees.

Running parallel to the show at the Munich International Congress Center will be the World of Photonics Congress, the meeting place of the scientific elite of the photonics industry. Attendees from across the world will converge and discuss the latest techniques and advancements across five different conferences. The keynote address of the congress will be delivered by Professor doctor Jörg Wrachtrup, a multiple award-winning quantum physicist.  

Through the combination of both Laser World of Photonics and World of Photonic Congress 2017, research and application will be brought together to promote the use and continued development of the latest photonics technologies.