ASU Engineer Honors Visual Visionaries With Innovation Award

Humans have been fascinated with light and optics since prehistoric times, when the first camera obscura effects — likely a pinhole in an animal hide —was used to project upside down images onto cave walls. Today, visual technologies connect us in most facets of everyday life, in our homes, our places of work and our classrooms.

Lina Karam, an electrical engineer at Arizona State University, thought it was time to acknowledge the visionaries who have created those transformative technologies and media platforms — medical imaging, video gaming, virtual reality, 3-D imagery and video streaming on a wide range of computing and personal devices. So, she introduced the Visual Innovation Award for this year’s IEEE International Conference on Image Processing.

Karam, who is chairing this year’s conference, launched the award as part of a new innovation program, which includes a technology showcase and a series of workshops presented by industry. From a field of seven finalists, Ren Ng, founder of Lytro’s pocket-size light-field camera, was named the first recipient of the award Tuesday evening, and Steve Chen, co-founder of YouTube, placed second.

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