Sigma’s ‘Focused on the Fight’ Campaign to Fund COVID Relief

Sigma will donate 5% of sales from 24 participating retail partners to charitable organizations to aid communities most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as part of its Focused on the Fight initiative. Sigma says that in 2020, that Focused on the Fight campaign raised over $93,000 for charitable organizations across the United States in partnership […]

Sigma’s ‘Focused on the Fight’ Campaign to Fund COVID Relief

Sigma will donate 5% of sales from 24 participating retail partners to charitable organizations to aid communities most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as part of its Focused on the Fight initiative.

Sigma says that in 2020, that Focused on the Fight campaign raised over $93,000 for charitable organizations across the United States in partnership with eighteen participating retail partners. This year, the campaign continues its mission to help provide aid to the communities that need it most.

“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, photography has been an outlet for people to express themselves, and to celebrate the strength of humanity in our communities,” says Mark Amir-Hamzeh, president of SIGMA America. “Our nationwide network of retailers are strong members of their local communities, and with their help — and the support of SIGMA fans — we can offer some measure of relief to their neighbors, and to people across the nation who need a helping hand.”

Last year’s group of partners included some of the largest local camera stores such as Samy’s Camera, Midwest Photo, and Glazer’s, and did not include any of the more popular nationwide stores as the initiative focuses on helping the specific communities that are connected to those local stores. A recap of the 2020 campaign can be found here.

This year, the Focused on the Fight campaign has expanded from 18 to 24 retail partners and expands the initiative’s reach considerably. With the addition of the six more camera retailers, Sigma is likely hoping to beat its numbers from last year. At the time of publication, Sigma says it is well on its way to surpassing the donations it was able to make last year.

While the total value of the efforts is tallied together, and the donation will be shared amount four separate charities: Feeding America, Mental Health America, Donors Choose, and the National Alliance to End Homelessness.

We know a better world takes work, dedication, and passion. And our focus is stronger than ever.

Through Feeding America, the money will make its way back into the communities that it came from and can provide help to where retail partners are based. For example, The Pixel Connection — a photo store that serves the Cleveland, Ohio area — notes that 5% of Sigma lens purchases go directly to Cleveland food banks through a relationship with Feeding America.

A full list of all retail partners that are part of the campaign can be found on Sigma’s Focused on the Fight webpage.

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Groundbreaking Graphene Camera Records a Heart’s Electrical Signals

Scientists have been able to capture the real-time electrical activity of a beating heart using a sheet of graphene to record an image. The result is almost like a video camera, and the generated images show the electric fields that trigger a heartbeat. Graphene is a material that has a high ceiling of potential that […]

Groundbreaking Graphene Camera Records a Heart’s Electrical Signals

Scientists have been able to capture the real-time electrical activity of a beating heart using a sheet of graphene to record an image. The result is almost like a video camera, and the generated images show the electric fields that trigger a heartbeat.

Graphene is a material that has a high ceiling of potential that could be used to make a wide range of products and services. As explained by Verge Science, graphene has the capability to bring the world anything from bulletproof armor and space elevators to making the internet run faster and advancing medical science.

It is that last bit about advancements in medical science that this new research report from a collaboration between two teams of quantum physicists at the UC Berkeley and physical chemists at Stanford University.

The use of graphene — which is a material that is made of a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a lattice — in this way shows its use as a wholly new type of sensor that will be useful for studying cells or tissues that generate electrical voltages. Previously, researchers were able to do this with electrodes or chemical dyes, but these had the limitation of only measuring the voltage at a single point.

A graphene sheet can measure voltage continuously and over all of the tissue it covers.

“Because we are imaging all cells simultaneously onto a camera, we don’t have to scan, and we don’t have just a point measurement. We can image the entire network of cells at the same time,” Halleh Balch, one of three first authors of the paper, says. Balch recently received her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley’s Department of Physics.

According to the published research report, the graphene sensor can work with existing standard microscopy techniques as well, expanding its usability.

To image a heart, the researchers placed a sheet of graphene above a waveguide and below a chamber that held a sample of tissue. A waveguide is a structure that, as it sounds, guides waves with minimal loss of energy by restricting the transmission of the energy into one direction.

Laser light was aimed into the waveguide through a prism, reflected off the graphene, and bounced inside the waveguide again before it exits and is recorded by a camera (specifically noted as a CCD camera). The internal reflections inside the waveguide amplify the response of the graphene to the electrical field of the sample and thus visualize the electrical current.

The sequence of images, separated by five milliseconds, then shows changes in the electrical field pattern on the surface of the heart during a single beat.

Feng Wang, a UC Berkley professor of physics and senior author of the paper says that this is perhaps the first example of using an optical readout of 2D material to measure biological electrical fields.

“People have used 2D materials to do some sensing with pure electrical readout before, but this is unique in that it works with microscopy so that you can do parallel detection,” he says.

“This study is just a preliminary one; we want to showcase to biologists that there is such a tool you can use, and you can do great imaging. It has fast time resolution and great electric field sensitivity,” Jason Horng, a UC Berkeley Ph.D. and the third first author of the research report. “Right now, it is just a prototype, but in the future, I think we can improve the device.”

The full research report from the two teams of scientists can be read journal.


Image credits: Photos and schematics by Halleh Balch, Allister McGuire and Jason Horng

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