Celebrating Pioneering Scientists 

Smashing Stereotypes

This March we have two events to celebrate the scientists and engineers who are pioneering AR display technology: International Women’s Day and British Science Week.

This year British Science Week is a ten day celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths between 11-20th March 2022. The theme is “Smashing Stereotypes” – celebrating the diverse range of people and careers in STEM. Read more stories on the BSW blog which range from mental health, STEM careers, dyslexia, fitness and diversity.

A local Wiltshire Sixth Form College, Great Western Academy in Swindon, invited WaveOptics to give talks to their students about the value of science, career opportunities and how augmented reality (AR) empowers people to express themselves and learn about the world and live in the moment. 

Dave Smith, Assistant Principal at GWA invited us to talk about our vision to develop AR smart glasses. We are pushing the boundaries of what is possible. This demands excellence from our team who explore new technologies and processes every day for our world-leading diffractive waveguides and miniature projectors which we combine into optical engines.

Leopard AR smart glass demo exploded view

world leading optical engines for AR eyewear

Mary Wanjeri our talent acquisition specialist explained the range of roles who collaborate in order to take a product from research and development through to sales delivery. Mary highlighted the importance of professional development, be that students go through higher education and achieve a University degree, or choose to go into work as a technician and can decide to take up a part-time degree later on such as Mechanical Engineering.

One of our waveguide developers, Alex Drayton, spoke about his role at WaveOptics in solving the challenges of AR eyewear. He shared his journey and the hurdles he faced along the way including how to manage dyslexia, cope with rejection and his joy in finding a job at WaveOptics where his talents are recognised and he can build confidence. Alex’s top tips to the students were to leverage your transferable skills, be open to opportunities and “go off-script!”

One of Alex’s skills is the ability to communicate science. (The photo at the top was taken during a school outreach at Lord Deramore’s Primary School in York whilst Alex was studying his PhD at York University.) This is a typical challenge for scientists and Alex is smashing stereotypes by demonstrating his ability to describe his work in waveguide fabrication for the layperson. The International Society of Optics and Photonics (SPIE) provides advice to scientists about how to write an accessible, nontechnical summary for a research paper; here is their formula for a six paragraph summary. The Editor-in-Chief of Photonics Focus at SPIE, Gwen Weerts highlights the importance of science communications having “a real, measurable impact… on public trust in science. And no one will trust what they can’t understand”.


We look forward to continuing our community outreach to schools and colleges in Oxfordshire and encouraging students to take up careers in STEM.