Behind the photonics chip

February 26, 2015 by Henry Benjamin
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Winner of Israel’s highest honour the Israel Prize Professor Moti Segev, has been visiting Australia to further the Technion’s collaborative project with Sydney University to develop the next generation of computer chip.

Professor Moti Segev

Professor Moti Segev     photo: Henry Benjamin

The 56-year-old world authority on photonics discussed the complex work being done and his research in the development of the power of light.  The physicist, who won the coveted Israel Prize in 2014, told J-Wire that he had not encountered any interference from BDS groups in the joint project between Israel’s  The Technion and Sydney University.

He said: “Fighting BDS is part of the hidden agenda of this project. My Australian colleagues in Sydney and at the Australian National University in Canberra have known me for 25 years. We have never collaborated in a project before but I have never encountered any of them joining in any BDS project. In collaborating with us, they have taken a stand against BDS. During my entire career I never encountered any discrimination of any kind.”  Professor Segev said that it does not  happen in the fields of science and engineering but did admit “there could be some undercurrents of anti-Israel sentiment but I have yet to see them. I have given many lectures around the world and no-one ever demonstrated at any of them.”

Professor Segev recently participated at a seminar in the Hunter Valley where he delivered a lecture to more than 200 people but admits he is yet to lecture at Sydney University.

Turning to the future and the impact of his research in the world of the consumer Moti Segev spoke of a 3-D camera which he expects will be a part of every laptop computer’s onboard assets within a couple of years. He said: “The new 3-D camera can create a virtual keyboard, can accept gestures input and  will be used in medical applications. He used as an example “just one camera can capture 3-D images of a heart during an operation….not 20 cameras. The surgeon will be able to see a 3-D image of the heart from any angle he or she chooses. He said that 3-D cameras exist today but are very large. The new chip and camera will be tiny.

The technology can also be applied to games too with Segev explaining that since the new technology understands depth it will be possible to play tennis with yourself.

The new breakthrough in 3-D cameras will be their incorporation in laptops. With his expertise in the field of light, Professor Segev was consulted by the Israeli firms developing the technology. He said: “By the end of the Israeli summer, 60,000 laptops with a 3-D camera on board will be sold as part of the pilot program.  If everything goes according to plan, by the end of 2016 every new laptop will sport a 3-D camera.”  The technology fits in with Segev’s area of expertise with the 3-D camera projecting light beams which reflect the objects they hit.

The development of the tiny chip which will drive the laptop’s 3-D camera “will impact on everyone” according to Professor Segev. Initially the laptop 3-D camera will have a range of one meter but he added: “Once we have broken the ice, and we have, it will not be long before the camera’s range will be extended dramatically.”

Discussing the future Professor Segev said: “I educate my students not do the things others are because your competition is as smart as you. You must think creatively  beyond the horizon.  It’s the only way you can win.” He pointed out that Haifa was a highly important centre for technology in Israel saying that universal giants such as Microsoft, Intel and Google have their Israeli bases there and “employ many Technion graduates” adding that the Iron Dome defence system was developed at the Technion.

The creation of a photonics chip for computers  certainly represents working beyond the horizon.   He told J-Wire that the initial joint project with the University of Sydney had expanded to involve scientists at the ANU and Macquarie University.

Professor Moti Segev welcomes the involvement of Technion societies throughout the Jewish world. He told J=Wire that Israeli universities did not receive the level of commercial funding their American counterparts do. He also believes that Diaspora involvement strengthen’s the world-wide Jewish community.

Professor Moti Sagiv added: “In Israel we have mandatory retirement at 68. As a distinguished professor it does not apply to me. I will never retire.”



One Response to “Behind the photonics chip”
  1. Schneur Naji says:

    could you imagine if there was peace, the Arab World would gain so much, prosperity would flourish.
    they need to recognize Israel as the Jewish State and things will flow from there.
    In the meantime we need a strong government occupying the government side in the Knesset.

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