Erin McDermott | Spire Starter

Optical Engineering – Illumination


Weird LED Lit-Effects in Consumer Electronics


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Other Expertise

  • Luminaire Design (headlamps/lamps/track lighting)
  • Root Cause Analysis in High-volume Manufacturing (figuring out system problem sources when you produce lots of widgets)
  • IR & Distance Measurement Sensors (detectors that use light)
  • High-powered Laser Process Development (diode and YAG lasers for use in metallurgy on assembly lines)
  • BRDF Modeling (materials/surface finish characterization for use in optical simulations)
  • Machine Vision System Testing (the physical side of computer vision)


Industry Specialties

Consumer Electronics, Manufacturing, Automotive, Residential and Commercial Lighting


Meeting Type



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Erin McDermott

Founder | Director of Optical Engineering

Spire Starter LLC


Previous Optical Engineering Examples

For Companies

Schedule a call to talk through:

  • feedback and cautions for your specific system development
  • recommended root cause analysis steps if things went wrong
  • recommendations for testing facilities, software, tools, or specialists for your unique system needs

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For Other Optical Engineers

Chat with Erin if you need help with:

  • talking through your optical design problem
  • how to explain optics stuff to other engineers/stakeholders
  • materials/BRDF characterizations, non-sequential optical simulations, stray light headaches

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Non-optics Q’s?

Erin McDermott does other stuff besides optics. She’s also a tech magazine writer and coaches small engineering businesses and freelancers on how to be seen and connect with more paying clients. Freelancers interested in learning what their most valuable soft and technical skills are are welcome to schedule a chat.


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Languages – Proficiency:                                         

English – Native
German – Survival
Spanish – Survival


Optical Software – Proficiency:

LightTools – Speed-hacking

Breault’s ASAP, LucidShape – Been a while

TracePro, Photopia, FRED, Zemax – Minimal


CAD Software – Proficiency:

CATIA V5, Rhino, I-DEAS – Been a while



B.S. Applied Physics, concentration in Applied Optics from Kettering University (formerly General Motors Institute/GMI)






More Information:


Publications: SolidSmack and DEVELOP3D 



Other applicable keywords: 

LED, light pipe, lightpipe, incandescent, fluorescent, non-sequential ray trace, stray light analysis, nerd, manufacturing technology, FMVSS, Kmark, tolerancing, tolerances, goniophotometer, goni, integrating sphere, steel, titanium dioxide, Ti02, surface finishes, scatter, volumetric scattering, diffusion, veiling glare, Lambertian, plastics, injection-molded optics, projector, MTF, radiometric, photometric, color temperature, mr16, reflector, indirect reflector, color mixing, intensity, lumens, glare, spot light, flood light, narrow beam, wall wash, Energy Star, IES, IES file, polar plot, roadway, night drive, high beam, low beam, texture, MoldTech, sandblasting, polish, optical simulation, RGB, pillows, gnorikel, electric scooter lamp, 12V, stability, test pattern, compliance, candela, lux