Figure 1 Junkosha Technology Innovator of the Year Award.

In December of 2023, Junkosha released the shortlist for its second annual “Technology Innovator of the Year Award” with the winners receiving the commemorative hardware seen in Figure 1. Junkosha is best known in the RF and microwave markets for its precision cables but is also the manufacturer of advanced fluoropolymer application technologies across both the medical device and microwave interconnect sectors. Eleven entries on the shortlist are being evaluated to determine this year’s winners. Each shortlisted candidate presented their entry to the judging committee in January and the winner will be announced at a ceremony in April 2024.

The winners are chosen by a panel of highly respected judges chosen for their industry credentials and the winning entrants will be awarded $25,000 to invest in their project. The Technology Innovator of the Year Awards were set up to recognize the innovative work of an individual or team working to deliver products used within interventional medical procedures or microwave/mmWave technologies. The shortlisted candidates are provided below by category.


Elahe Soltanaghai, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Soltanaghai’s research develops a vision of omnipresent sensing for making buildings or cities smart by repurposing the pervasive wireless communication infrastructures (such as Wi-Fi) in every building or city to function as sensors. To achieve that, the technology leverages the low-level natural behavior of radio waves when they propagate in the physical space to infer where people, devices or objects are and what is happening in the physical environment. The research leverages the interaction of these wireless signals with the environment. The signals, which mainly communicate data between wireless devices, emulate physical resources such as sensors to identify the presence of people for automated air conditioning and lighting, tracking battery-free objects such as wallets or keychains in any indoor space that has Wi-Fi networks and even enable identification and localization of roadside infrastructure such as digital lane markers and road signs for vehicles. The goal is to use these techniques to identify nodes that are obscured from view, where visual sensing typically fails. A conceptual block diagram of this concept is shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2

Figure 2 Wi-Fi devices form a sensor network. Source: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Ian Roberts, Wireless Lab at UCLA

For the past century, wireless systems like 5G and Wi-Fi have been bottlenecked by their inability to transmit and receive signals at the same time and the same frequency. This research changes that by unlocking true “full duplex” capability in mmWave wireless systems through beamforming techniques to eliminate self-interference. They derive new theories and implement their techniques on mmWave transceivers to validate their effectiveness in real-world systems at the lab.

Michael Hollenbeck, Optisys, Inc.

Figure 3 Example of Optisys additively reduced SWAP-C antenna technology. Source: Optisys.

Optisys specializes in design for metal additive manufacturing, which allows for new, highly integrated waveguide antenna assemblies to be produced at a fraction of the size and weight of traditional waveguides while maintaining the highest performance. The company has manufactured antennas that are in space, on the moon, in the air and on the ground. Optisys can provide solutions from 1 to 100 GHz, from feeds and flat panel antennas to phased arrays and synthetic aperture radar so the techniques apply to many applications to improve SWAP-C. Examples of the Optisys products are shown in Figure 3.

Mona Jarrahi, UCLA

The millimeter and sub-mmWave imaging/sensing systems developed by this group offer what they claim to be record-high signal-to-noise ratios that enable 3D hyperspectral imaging of unknown objects in real-time for the first time. These systems provide a powerful platform for high-throughput, non-destructive inspection of various products in the pharmaceutical, automotive, aerospace and energy industries.

Patrick Reynaert, University of Leuven (KU Leuven)

This group proposes polymer fibers for mmWave communication as an alternative to copper wireline and optical fiber transmission for robust, high speed, low-cost, low-power and medium-distance communications. They have already achieved 100 Gbps over 5 m, using low-cost polymers, making this solution well-suited for automotive communication and data centers where robustness and cost are crucial.

Professor Anthony Peyton, University of Manchester

This group works to bring improved resolution in non-destructive testing and Professor Peyton was awarded the BINDT Roy Sharpe Prize in 2022. This work has been extended to landmine detection and body scanners. Frequency ranges extend from low RF frequencies up to typically 12 GHz with plans to go to mmWave frequencies where electromagnetic wave propagation allows for the application of their tomography algorithms.

Sabih Chaudhry, Afon Technology Ltd.

Figure 4 Glucowear™ is suitable for anyone who needs to monitor their blood glucose levels regularly. Source: Afon Technology Ltd.

Using a unique microwave structure, this group can detect subtle changes in blood glucose levels without penetrating the skin. Their technology will enable diabetics and pre-diabetics to better monitor their blood glucose without the pain, discomfort and other side effects associated with current glucose monitoring options. Some of the hardware incorporating this technology is shown in Figure 4.

Wenyao Xu, University at Buffalo

This group’s technology and product provide what they believe is an unprecedented solution for skin lesion screening, diagnosis, prognosis and treatment. The technology minimizes side effects, such as infection, compared with traditional solutions.


Matt Ginn, IQ Endoscopes

This team of clinical, medical tech and engineering specialists is committed to creating clinically effective, high performance, sustainable single-use, flexible endoscopes on a global scale. Using a patented engineering approach, their range of single-use endoscopes will deliver much-needed change within endoscopy, addressing the huge demand for the service, globally. Sustainable, single-use endoscopes provide an opportunity to meet the growing demand gap for endoscopy and to free it from an acute setting, allowing microwave/mmWave technologies and interventional medical procedures to be undertaken on a broader scale, improving patient outcomes.

Seth Harrington, Avisi Technologies, Inc.

Avisi Technologies has developed an ultra-thin, multichannel, non-fibrotic device for the treatment of glaucoma. The product is a nanotechnology-enabled aqueous shunt. Working closely with ophthalmologists and experts, Avisi is committed to introducing a reliable, safe and effective solution for glaucoma patients.

Tyler Melton, Corveus Medical

Corveus Medical is developing a one-time, catheter-based solution that provides instant relief from the symptoms of chronic heart failure by removing a single nerve branch. Their device can find and remove a nerve that has been shown to be responsible for driving intracardiac volumes and progressing heart failure.


Efforts like Junkosha’s Technology Innovator of the Year Award help jump-start novel technologies for future products. It is a way to enable these emerging technologies to refine and mature their products to get them into production and promote their growth for the future.