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Optical Engineering Students’ Laser Piano Project Recognized in International Year of Light Contest

September 4, 2014

Creative Ideas

Creative Idea: Five students will develop their laser piano project with the $500 prize for winning the Optical Society of America’s International Year of Light competition.

A musical project replacing piano strings with laser beams to control sound generation proposed by five Rose-Hulman optical engineering students was selected as one of five winners in the Optical Society of America’s (OSA) International Year of Light competition.

The International Year of Light is a global initiative, endorsed by the United Nations, which highlights the importance of light and optical technologies in people’s everyday lives and for the development of society.

Rose-Hulman’s student team submitted one of 39 project proposals –- from colleges and universities through the world. A two-week Internet contest combined with a project review panel of optics experts to decide five teams that would receive $500 to support implementation of the proposals.

     Members of Rose-Hulman’s team are:

  • Sanaz Faryadras, a graduate student from Tehran, Iran
  • Michael Grayson, a junior from Royersford, Pennsylvania
  • Ben Hall,a graduate student from Bedford, Indiana
  • James Rademaker, a senior from Anchorage, Alaska
  • Daniel Spoor, a graduate student from Crown Point, Indiana

The team’s project uses laser beams to control the generation of sound through the laws of reflection, refraction, and diffraction to play Michael Jackson’s “We Are The World.” The completed design will be made available online as open source content to promote optics technology.

Featuring the laser piano in public performances, online music video and content accessibility, and social media should inspire interest in the growing field of optics.

Other International Year of Light competition finalists came from Romania, India, Mexico, and America’s University of Rochester.