• Monica Giudice

For the series “a chat with the team”: James Reynolds, Chief Optical Engineer

James is a senior optical engineer with over 30 years’ experience in R&D within a wide range of industries.

James has worked both in manufacturing and software and has vast experience in optical design, optical physics, and sensor design, with a particular emphasis on metrology.

As an optics specialist James has considerable mathematical aptitude and has used this extensively in algorithm design and development, mathematical modelling, and data analysis.

During our latest coffee break we got some interesting insight! Read all about it below!

When did you get involved with Occuity? Why did you feel it was the right thing for you?

I’ve been involved with Occuity almost from the start – Dan and Robin put my profile on the website even before I had done any work for them! I worked with Dan and Robin at Lein for about 10 years until that company folded, I then became an independent contractor for a while when Dan and Robin were setting up the company. Though of course I kept in touch, and over this period did some work for them part time. Then when my main contract finished I joined Occuity permanently.

What do you think about Occuity’s work so far?

Lein folded at a very awkward time, when the pachymeter had almost come to fruition and we had also come up with some new and exciting technology. It was infuriating not to be able to pursue these any further. So obviously I was more than happy to come back on board when I did. Since then I have been very impressed by how the pachymeter in particular has progressed, from a device which gave adequate measurements to one which is easy to use and gives results which are at least as good as those from high-end ophthalmic instruments.

Why are you passionate about Optics?

I suppose my interest in optics began because I have some problems with my vision. However as I got into the subject I really enjoyed it for its own sake: it is a highly mathematical subject and I am probably more naturally a mathematician than an engineer. And it is a large subject – there are plenty of aspects of the behaviour of light which I’m not familiar with (but I am always willing to learn!)

What is the coolest thing you can do with optics?

That is a difficult one to answer. With my background being in metrology I would have to say that LIGO is the coolest instrument around – though actually it uses a technique which has been around since the 19th century. Obviously it has been refined somewhat since then. But the coolest thing about optics isn’t that there isn’t just one cool thing you can do, it’s how ubiquitous it is. There is hardly a quantity which you can’t measure optically – sometimes non-optical methods are simpler or more appropriate, but usually an optical method is possible. And then there’s communications, imaging, spectroscopy…

What work most excites you?

That would be the work on glucose monitoring. It’s not only that it is an important aim in its own right, it’s that the technology we are using now is new and will allow us to make measurements which have simply not been possible until now. And this will undoubtedly have applications well beyond glucose monitoring.

Considered your significant experience in this industry, what makes Occupy stand out?

The people. We have a really good team of people here who are really committed to what they are doing, have some wonderfully creative ideas and are fun to work with.

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