AMA Innovation Award 2013 - The winners

AMA Innovation Award 2013 for a Membrane-Free Optical Microphone and a 3D Scanning Laser Vibrometer Microscope with a Measuring Beam 

Nuremberg/Berlin, May 2013—The AMA Association for Sensor Technology (AMA) will present the AMA Innovation Award 2013 to the winning contenders on the 14th of May at the SENSOR+TEST trade fair in Nuremberg. The 10,000-euro award will be equally divided between the two winning projects, a membrane-free optical microphone from Xarion GmbH and a 3D scanning laser vibrometer microscope with a measuring beam from Polytec GmbH.

These two innovations persuaded the jury both in regard to their development depth as well as to their market relevance. The 3D scanning laser vibrometer microscope with a measuring beam is a joint development by Dr. Marcus Winter, Robert Kowarsch, Wanja Ochs, Alexander Collet, Moritz Giesen, Lars Heller, and Dr. Christian Rembe (all from Polytec GmbH, Waldbronn, Germany). It allows the measurement of three-dimensional vibration parameters of microscopic objects in real time. As opposed to other approaches with three vibrometers that measure vibrating surfaces from different directions, the MSA-100-3D consists of a single, integrated measuring element that analyzes the laser beam reflected in three directions, and thus derives the three-dimensional displacement of the measured object. This method prevents interferences and improves local resolution by a magnitude of less than 4µm.

The other awarded innovation is a winner on two counts: The optical membrane-free microphone developed by Dr. Balthasar Fischer (Xarion GmbH, Vienna, Austria), Friedrich Reining (Knowles Electronics Austria GmbH, Vienna), and Prof. Dr. Ernst Wintner (Technical University, Vienna) not only won the AMA Innovation Award 2013, but was also presented with the AMA Special Award for Start-Up Enterprises in February 2013.

The first microphone without any moving parts allows a completely linear frequency response, a true impulse response, a very low susceptibility to interference from wind, pop noise, and structure-borne sound, as well as a marked ability to locate sound emanation. The optical microphone does not use a membrane, nor any other mechanical component. The acoustic pressure is measured optically and contact-free via changes in the refraction index in the air caused by the sound waves. The transducer is based on a laser diode (VCSEL) and a tiny Fabry-Pérot interferometer, i.e. two parallel, partially reflecting mirrors.

“This year, sixty innovative teams submitted first-rate development projects, contending for the AMA Innovation Award. The 3D scanning laser vibrometer microscope with a measuring beam and the membrane-free optical microphone won over the jury beyond other submissions because of their scientifically outstanding solutions and usability,” explained jury chairman Prof. Dr. Andreas Schütze from the Saarland University.

The AMA Innovation Award is among the most renown honors in sensor and measuring technology and is presented annually by the AMA Association for Sensor Technology. A brief description of all submissions will be published again this year in the brochure “AMA Innovation Award 2013 – The Contenders.”

This is what makes the AMA Innovation Award unique: The 10,000-euro award is bestowed directly to the development teams, not to their enterprises or institutes. The major criteria for the jury comprised of representatives of universities, research institutes, and enterprises, are the degree of innovation and the clearly perceptible benefit.

Submissions for the AMA Innovation Award 2014 will be accepted as of October 2013. Individuals as well as developer teams from enterprises and institutes may apply. The brochure with the submissions for the AMA Innovation Award 2013 as well as further information can be obtained at: