Harvard’s Next Big Step in Optics & Virtual Reality

As the concepts of virtual reality (VR) become more ingrained in the technology of day-to-day life, capability improvement of these systems must keep up. With expectations high, VR has to deliver or risk being seen as an over-hyped initiative. The early indications are promising: VR is being integrated into everything from cars to sunglasses, touchscreens to video games.

With that in mind, encouraging and impressive news emerged out of a lab in Harvard toward the end of 2017. Researchers at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) announced the creation of a metalens: in essence, a single lens that can focus the entire spectrum of light in one beam.

In the past, a lens was stacked to achieve this distribution of the light spectrum. This led to bulky lens configurations that made placing VR in thin consumer products (like phones and headsets) very difficult. Metalens technology has the potential to change this.

As Federico Capasso, a senior fellow and researcher at SEAS put it, “Metalenses are thin, easy to fabricate, and cost-effective. This breakthrough extends those advantages across the whole visible range of light. This is the next big step.”

Optics are very difficult to make in miniature, particularly in products designed for the consumer market. Beyond the physics involved in a reduction of size, lenses must remain well-defined and energy efficient (not to mention durable). Researchers used a design of paired titanium dioxide nanofibers to overcome some of the difficulties faced in the past.

Papers and articles in both Nature and the Daily Mail suggest the team at Harvard has the ambition to continue evolving the metalens concept. A widely reported goal is to create a lens at 1 cm, and given the quick progress the SEAS team has shown so far, it’s difficult to doubt them.

The Life Sciences & Instrumentation Division of Gooch and Housego was established to eliminate a void that existed in the area of optical radiation standards, calibration services, and measurement instrumentation for industry, government/military, and academia. We are dedicated to helping you and your organization by providing products that have been tested against traceable photometric standards. If you want to learn more, contact us today at 407-422-3171.

How LEDs Can Help Cyclists

It can seem difficult to keep up with all the new and useful ways LEDs are being deployed in our modern world. One use of LEDs that consistently seems to find its way into the news is in the realm of traffic safety. From interesting crosswalks and innovative light patterns for pedestrians, to LED concepts that are being worked into smarter and safer cars, the roads are abloom in LED-based technology.

One arena that may be overlooked here are those ubiquitous cyclists. Of course, a main piece of gear for any cyclists is the helmet. But over the years, precious little design modifications have occurred in these common units. A company called Coros is looking to change that with a unique cycling helmet that incorporates LEDs.

Called OMNI, the helmet uses a special battery pack and extremely light-weight LED strips that create light patterns along the side and back. The prototype is scheduled to go into production early this year if demand exists.

The safety benefit of wearing a helmet with embedded LED seems to come from two places. One, of course, is the quality of light production, allowing motorists to spot cyclists much more easily. But bikes already have an assortment of lights. Sowhat may, in fact, be key to the OMNI LED system is the distinctive look. The whole idea of LED safety lights, after all, is to stand out.

And the OMNI actually has more than just LEDs packed into it: bone conduction transducer speakers built-in, wind-resistant microphones, Bluetooth and emergency GPS, USB ports and an 8-hour rechargeable battery.

The sleek setup of the side- and rear-mounted LED panels that seem to get the most interest out of some cycling enthusiasts. For LED enthusiasts, there still seems to be a lightly tapped market for LEDs integrated into the things we wear. As battery systems that power LEDs become lighter and more versatile, and as LEDs continue to use less power with each generation, there may be an upwards direction in the possibilities for how we can deploy them in the everyday things we wear.


The Life Sciences & Instrumentation Division of Gooch and Housego was established to eliminate a void that existed in the area of optical radiation standards, calibration services, and measurement instrumentation for industry, government/military, and academia. We are dedicated to helping you and your organization by providing products that have been tested against traceable photometric standards. If you want to learn more, contact us today at 407-422-3171.

This Innovative Microscope is Changing the Way We Study Optogenetics

For many modern scientists, the study of the brain is one of the greatest challenges left to medicine in the 21st Century. The amount we don’t know is simply stunning, and the pathways to gaining that knowledge aren’t clear. To be fair, there are optimists and pessimists in the world of optogenetics, and some feel that advances in light technology can truly open the secrets of the brain.

Dubbed Firefly, a new microscope with a 6-millimeter-diameter lens area is being hailed as an innovative groundbreaker in the world of imaging. This device is so powerful that it can watch individual neurons fire, a technique not available in commercial microscopes of the past. The team at Harvard accomplished this by using patterns of light to stimulate cells and then capture that reaction using the Firefly lens.

Over time, and in the hands of a capable laboratory, the brain patterns that Firefly can view could lead us to a better understanding of how diseases like Alzheimer’s or epilepsy progress and act.

To focus light so exactly on neural systems, the researchers had to overcome several obstacles that have proved overly burdensome in the past. One was simply light energy: to create a large useful image of a neural system required a high-powered pulse of light difficult to replicate, and fraught with technical issues.

As Adam Cohen, a lead researcher on the project at Harvard, described the solution to this energy problem: “A great deal of engineering went into developing optics that cannot only image a large area but do so with very high light collection efficiency.”

Another issue was the optical capabilities necessary to actually capture the image. It goes somewhat without saying, but if we could have created light-imaging microscopes of immense ability years ago, we would have done so. The accomplishment of Cohen and his team at Harvard were on full display as they visually measured 85 neurons in 30 seconds during a recent demonstration.


The Life Sciences & Instrumentation Division of Gooch and Housego was established to eliminate a void that existed in the area of optical radiation standards, calibration services, and measurement instrumentation for industry, government/military, and academia. We are dedicated to helping you and your organization by providing products that have been tested against traceable photometric standards. If you want to learn more, contact us today at 407-422-3171.

New Study Shows UV Light Can Speed Up Medical Lab Tests

In medicine, speed is power. Numerous studies over the years have shown that the earlier diseases are detected, the higher the odds of recovery. Although this is generally related to early screenings and the like, speeding up the time that medical lab tests take could provide a secondary edge in the battle against many illnesses. A new study out of the University of California – Davis, is showing a unique way to do just that.

Ultraviolet light in medical imaging was deployed during this study in a system called MUSE (microscopy with ultraviolet surface excitation). In layman’s terms, current medical lab work is done by slicing thin sheets of tissue on to glass slides, a process that can take many hours and is painstaking. MUSE suggests an alternative to this work: by focusing UV light at wavelengths below 300 nanometers, high-quality images can be created off of unprepared tissue samples.

This should all make testing dramatically quicker, and the UV light used is generated from LED sources. Researchers suggest that by using the MUSE method, results could become available in mere minutes, as opposed to hours or longer. Tissue samples could be tested outside of a laboratory setting since the careful creation of slides would no longer be necessary.

The team at UC Davis sees a future in this technique that goes beyond microscopy: agriculture, biology, and toxicology are just a few of the many fields mentioned that could use a boost from this groundbreaking image concept. Beyond speed, MUSE has one other big advantage going for it, and that’s cost. LEDs and the UVs they create can be obtained cheaply, and without the need for medical slide samples, the process becomes amazingly efficient.

The work published in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering is promising. However, as the process for refining UV light based on LEDs becomes more consistent, researchers must remain mindful of original standards. To do this, they’ll need the right equipment; the very type built in the laboratories of Gooch and Housego.

The Life Sciences & Instrumentation Division of Gooch and Housego was established to eliminate a void that existed in the area of optical radiation standards, calibration services, and measurement instrumentation for industry, government/military, and academia. We are dedicated to helping you and your organization by providing products that have been tested against traceable calibration standards. If you want to learn more, contact us today at 407-422-3171.

On The Horizon: New “Smart” Crosswalk in London

LED lights seems to have unlimited uses, but safety has proven one of the ways LEDs can be most beneficial, with new technology appearing in South London through so-called “smart” crosswalks.

The 20th century version of the crosswalk is a blinking light that instructs pedestrians when to cross. But while pedestrians can see these easily they are often difficult for drivers to see, making it difficult to have safe crosswalks.

Can LEDs help? Recent studies in London have shown that tiny LEDs embedded in the roadway can make crosswalks more functional. The systems in these “smart” crosswalks are impressively intricate, but still exceptionally easy for both driver and walker to understand.

Cameras identify pedestrians, then change the light signal embedded in the roadway to suit the situation. The walkway can widen when a large crowd is crossing, and intensify based on the sense of a dangerous situation.

Distracted pedestrians are becoming an ever-growing concern. “Smart” crosswalks look to mitigate this by alerting drivers of pedestrians crossing unsafely. The LED displays can be made to put out warning signals when pedestrians are crossing the road at an unscheduled time or in a random fashion.

There are, without a doubt, many more ways that LED lighting can improve safety in and around roads. With technology booming, specifically in regards to lighting, there seems to be no reason to not put it to good use.

The Life Sciences & Instrumentation Division of Gooch and Housego was established to eliminate a void that existed in the area of optical radiation standards, calibration services, and measurement instrumentation for industry, government/military, and academia. We are dedicated to helping you and your organization by providing products that have been tested against traceable photometric standards. If you want to learn more, contact us today at 407-422-3171.

The White Light Debate in Public Schools

For years, data has accumulated on the potential benefits of lighting for the human body. This has proven to be particularly true for children, with lighting affecting their moods and learning potential. Because of this, it’s important that schools are properly lit to create the best environment for learning and developing.

One of the issues with standard light sources is their rigidness. Research shows light-sources should be tuned to specific settings in order for students to reap the benefits. Recently, the Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District (CFB) in Carrollton, Texas, installed widespread LED systems in some of the classrooms in its district, and invited the U.S. Department of Energy to observe its effects.

These LEDs were installed on a trial basis to assess their effects on student performance and mood. For years now, LEDs have been deployed in specific situations to influence group behavior; but would they help in the classroom?

Installed before the 2016-2017 school year, the LED systems boasted an array of settings and types. This study put the controls in the teachers’ hands, and while each used the settings differently, all of their feedback was positive. Teachers consistently told the DOE that the light setting noticeably influenced students’ moods.

However, it was clear from these interviews that teachers did not use the light settings to their full extent. This seemed to be a simple side effect of the technology being so new, as well as so rarely used by the general public.

The Life Sciences & Instrumentation Division of Gooch and Housego was established to eliminate a void that existed in the area of optical radiation standards, calibration services, and measurement instrumentation for industry, government/military, and academia. We are dedicated to helping you and your organization by providing products that have been tested against traceable photometric standards. If you want to learn more, contact us today at 407-422-3171.

Study Shows No Harm to Using LED Lights as a Wifi Supplement

The use of LED lighting in Wi-Fi integration is a concept possessing extreme, unexplored potential.  However, there are a variety of rumors discrediting this, including the idea that Wi-Fi mixed into lighting will hurt or degrade the light source. A new study from the U.K. seems to debunk this.

A quick explanation on LEDs and Wi-Fi: with wireless data space in high demand, LEDs could assist in this power-draining technology by incorporating the transmitted data into its own light waves. This process that will be known as Li-Fi.

A concern with this technology is that the data will have a draining effect on the light source itself, causing LEDs to become unreliable. However, this fear was  disproved in a new study from the University of Edinburgh. The research team at Edinburgh specifically looked at two different ways to keep LED power consistent while transmitting Wi-Fi data: on-off keying and continuous signaling.

  • On-off Keying: LED essentially works by being turned on and off in programmed rates (set for the use of Wi-Fi) that are impossible for the human eye to pick up on.
  • Continuous signaling: Faint lowering of LEDs light source is done at key times and in minor ways, to the point where the changes would not be noticeable.

Neither source seemed to affect LED power or energy consumption in any significant way.

Using Wi-Fi within LED signals offers a lot of benefits. From an energy production standpoint alone, they would be welcomed on a global scale, and for single room uses, they could prove to have a consumer interest. Studies like the one out of Edinburgh go a long way toward achieving a future of LED and Wi-Fi integration.

The Life Sciences & Instrumentation Division of Gooch and Housego was established to eliminate a void that existed in the area of optical radiation standards, calibration services, and measurement instrumentation for industry, government/military, and academia. We are dedicated to helping you and your organization by providing products that have been tested against traceable calibration standards. If you want to learn more, contact us today at 407-422-3171.

New Study Reveals No Special Blue Light Hazard

Unfortunately, myths about LED lighting and its effects on people, plants, and more are pretty common. An example of this is the so-called “blue light hazard,” which states that LEDs cause eye damage, circadian rhythm issues, and light pollution. Recently, a new study out of the Lighting Research Center (LRC) at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute began testing these claims.

The overall research was published in the International Journal of Occupational Safety and Ergonomics. To test the general theory of blue light hazard in LEDs, researchers relied on the informative Illuminating Engineering Society and the Commission Internationale de l´Éclairage guidelines.

Based on these guidelines, they conducted experiments using sunlight, fluorescent light bulbs, LEDs, and an array of lighting facilitators. LEDs ultimately showed no more elevated risk of blue light than any other comparable light form. Not only that, but it was found that LEDs can be programmed to adapt to nearly any critical lighting situation.

To be clear, this does not mean that bright light can’t cause damage. And LEDs, like any other light source, can shine intensely enough to cause negative consequences  (as well as positive ones). But one of the main myths about blue light hazards in LEDs is that there is a specific risk due to correlated color temperature (CCT). The team at the LRC compared incandescent light turned to a filament level that matches LEDs, and found any blue light hazard level to be misconstrued and factless.  

Hopefully, studies like this will continue to alleviate public fears regarding LEDs. They are, in fact, so widespread that most observers do not even realize the amount of LED they are taking in every day. In order to push forward in a world illuminated by these energy-efficient light sources, it remains critical to continue investigating their abilities.  

The Life Sciences & Instrumentation Division of Gooch and Housego was established to eliminate a void that existed in the area of optical radiation standards, calibration services, and measurement instrumentation for industry, government/military, and academia. We are dedicated to helping you and your organization by providing products that have been tested against traceable photometric standards. If you want to learn more, contact us today at 407-422-3171.

Product Spotlight: Aries Spectroradiometer

As spectroradiometers evolve over the years, it’s crucial to keep up with changing capabilities and functional needs. But we’re not here just to keep up, we’re here to lead and create innovative spectroradiometers that set new precedents. Gooch & Housego does not unleash a new line of spectroradiometers very often, but when we do, you can be assured that we’ve pushed the technical envelope as far as modern technology will allow us to go.

The Aries is a direct predecessor of the highly acclaimed OL 770. But with Aries, we installed new modern accessories, like Wi-Fi and Ethernet connective ports, to push the entire product up a class. Lua software was installed for easier custom calculations, and we also included an internal automated filter wheel. The wheel alone increased dynamic range by an envious seven order magnitude.

The Aries is a tough unit, with precision at its core, like the OL 770 before it. Its applications are varied, as are the wavelength ranges that the unit comes available with. To be precise, the Aries includes 200-780nm (UV/VIS), 380-780nm (VIS), 380-930 (NVIS), 380-1100nm (VIS/NIR), and 850-1700nm (NIR).

The usability of the Aries is essential to its overall application. As such, it’s a technical product that can auto-merge easily with Microsoft Word or Excel, and is super lightweight for easy field travel. Getting this kind of usability at a reasonable cost, while still retaining elite laboratory level precision, is rare. To say the least.

And some of the applications the Aries can be put to work towards include:

  • LED measurements (one of our most crucial and growing fields).
  • Display testing, from avionics to automotive.
  • Spectral irradiance and radiance measurements.
  • NVIS.
  • Reflectance and transmittance.

Our years of technical know-how have culminated in a product like the Aries Spectroradiometer. It takes master-level electronic manufacturers for products as specific as this, and those with an eye for quality can sense this immediately. Dynamic and easy to use, portable and tough, the Aries is a benchmark product because the best testing your displays is imperative.

The Life Sciences & Instrumentation Division of Gooch and Housego was established to eliminate a void that existed in the area of optical radiation standards, calibration services, and measurement instrumentation for industry, government/military, and academia. We are dedicated to helping you and your organization by providing products that have been tested against traceable photometric standards. If you want to learn more, contact us today at 407-422-3171.

Product Spotlight: MANTIS Imaging Colorimeter/ Photometer

Gooch and Housego prides itself on multi-dimensional products that can reach an extreme caliber. Our devices look to improve the capabilities of other lighting products around the world and work in an elite echelon of laboratory-level machines that produce very precise functions. The MANTIS Imaging Colorimeter/Photometer is a perfect example of what we are and what we create.

The MANTIS is designed to create CCD-based measurements of luminance, chromaticity, and color temperatures for large areas. It does this with a proprietary pixel scheme that can create measurements that are basically unequal in the current market.

Photometers can be used for many applications, but as a company that focuses on precision, we like to narrow our purposes to the finite; however, some of the common applications for MANTIS include the automotive and aviation industry. Both industries require very strict spatial lighting control measurements in display modules, the type that only a system like MANTIS can deliver.

This device is also now commonly used in architectural lighting, as well as illumination design concepts. Precision is imperative when creating the right mood and emotion with projected lighting, and this cannot be tested simply by the human eyeball. Strictly grounded photometers, like MANTIS, allow for a level of testing that can refine a product, or project, well before display. MANTIS has also found itself quite useful in a similar but generally unrelated field of roadway lighting.

Getting a good grasp on the quality of a given photometer can often come simply from the spec sheet. As such, it’s important to note the eye-popping capabilities that come packaged in the diminutive 1.8 pounds of MANTIS. They include:

  • A high-speed GigE interface
  • Camera resolution of 2750X2200
  • Power supply input at 100-240 VAC @ 0.4 A, 50/60 HZ
  • Easy to read pass/fail mechanisms
  • 3D plots of luminance

Above all the technical accoutrements, overall usability is still paramount. And MANTIS comes through here as well, with a tough and rugged design permitting easy travel, and an operating system compatible with Windows 7, 8, and 10.With MANTIS, sophistication and accuracy is taken to an incredible level, all at a cost-effective range.

The Life Sciences & Instrumentation Division of Gooch and Housego was established to eliminate a void that existed in the area of optical radiation standards, calibration services, and measurement instrumentation for industry, government/military, and academia. We are dedicated to helping you and your organization by providing products that have been tested against traceable photometric standards. If you want to learn more, contact us today at 407-422-3171.