Our Company

We recognize the true nature of our client’s needs and challenges, so we adapt quickly and are able to provide them with the best possible solution, even in the most demanding budgets and deadlines. Contrast, founded in Albuquerque, NM in 2005, is an optical design and engineering company focused on creating leading-edge, system-level solutions for a variety of partners in military, commercial and consumer markets. We have spent the past 12 years pioneering and developing custom cameras, optical systems and real-time image processing for clients all over the world. We currently hold four issued U.S. patents, one issued foreign patent, seven pending U.S. patents, and two pending foreign patents for optical systems and real-time image processing.

Our whole-system, integrated approach recognizes all interactive systems and components, including cross-over of mechanical, optical, electrical and control systems, to provide a total working solution. Some of our core capabilities include hardware implementation, optical design and imaging system analysis, image processing research, algorithm development, electronics prototyping for manufacturability and optical system design and integration.

We currently hold four issued U.S. patents, one issued foreign patent, seven pending U.S. patents, and two pending foreign patents for optical systems and real-time image processing.

Integration

Contrast offers a variety of techniques to design software, hardware and firmware and to assemble lenses, lasers, cameras and other components into embedded systems. We are always focused on reducing system size, weight and power (SWaP), and we strive to mesh our custom solutions with our clients’ existing systems.

WHO WE WORK FOR

As leaders in optical design and integration, real-time electronics and software development, Contrast provides solutions for a variety of industries. We have the capabilities to develop end-to-end custom imaging solutions. Contrast’s toolbox allows us to fabricate, analyze and manufacture state-of-the-art technology, software and hardware to meet a wide range of specific customer needs.

We have the flexibility and varied expertise that allows us to work on a wide scope of projects; from real-time High Dynamic Range (HDR), complex image processing, to innovative lens designs for surgical microscopes and automated tracking systems that track a known target and recognize the target’s track pattern as it moves. We welcome the challenge and innovation opportunities that each new project presents.

Nora Tocci
President

Nora Tocci is President and co-founder of Contrast. Along with her B.S. in Optical Science from the University of Alabama in Huntsville, Nora has more than 20 years of experience in optical system design, assembly, and testing; including beam control and pointing systems, alignment of diagnostics, multispectral imaging sensors, optical metrology, medical imaging devices and laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy. She is co-author of 13 issued and pending U.S. patents for optical devices and systems. As President, Nora oversees all aspects of technology development at Contrast, managing budgets, marketing strategies and customer relations.

As a scientist, Nora’s natural curiosity often spills over into her personal life as well. She enjoys traveling with her family to experience new places and cultures, and she frequents museums and galleries as an avid art collector. She and Mike regularly volunteer at their daughter's school, sparking interest in engineering by teaching an optics session to Middle School kids on how a camera works, including building a large pinhole camera to collect data and learn about light and optics.

Mike Tocci, PHD
Chief Technical Officer

Dr. Mike Tocci is Chief Technical Officer and co-founder of Contrast. He received his B.S. in Optics from the University of Rochester and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He is a Research Associate Professor at the University of New Mexico Electrical & Computer Engineering Department, and holds more than 20 years of experience in optical design, research, teaching, and engineering, including over 15 years working with OpticStudio 16.5 Optical Design software. Mike is author of 24 issued and pending, U.S. and international patents for optical devices.

In addition to volunteering at his daughter's school and the University of New Mexico, Mike also enjoys yoga, traveling and hiking. Once a devout brewer of beer, Mike now uses his skills of concoction for blending and roasting coffee for himself and his family.

Chris Kiser, PHD
Real-Time Systems Lead

Dr. Chris Kiser is Senior Engineer at Contrast. He received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Las Vegas, where he paid his way through college by performing as a guitarist in a lounge band. Chris received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of New Mexico for his real-time HDR Video work, and his 15+ years of industry experience includes managing aerospace programs, working with industrial marking lasers, tracking, image processing and designing and developing defense systems. He is author of 12 issued and pending patents for aerospace engineering and optical systems.

Chris is also is an avid animal lover and a classically trained singer. In his spare time he enjoys using his pilot’s license to fly gliders over the beautiful New Mexico landscape.

Benjamin Stromberg
Electrical Engineer

Benjamin Stromberg holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of New Mexico School of Engineering. Prior to Contrast, he worked at Boeing-SVS as an Electrical Engineering and Information Technology Intern. At Contrast, Benjamin heads up software and GUI integration of various camera systems. He also assists with onsite maintenance and installation projects for Contrast’s clients.

Benjamin is also a licensed glider pilot and enjoys spending time outdoors in the New Mexico weather with wife and their dog. He is also an avid musician, having played the trumpet for over 15 years.

Drew Riedle
Electrical Engineer

Drew Riedle holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of New Mexico, and attended additional graduate course at UNM as well. Drew works with Contrast as an electrical engineer, providing software and hardware support for HDR Camera systems. He has developed and led circuit design work for high-speed camera/optical interfaces, and has extensive field experience as lead engineer and team leader for testing and evaluation of laser systems.

Drew is an amateur radio operator, and also enjoys skeet shooting, and working on model aircraft and old cars. He also spends a great deal of time as a volunteer for various organizations, including as a Reserve Deputy Sheriff with the Socorro County, a Deputy Chief of the New Mexico Rangers Auxiliary law enforcement organization and with the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta.

Breeze Sansom
Executive Assistant

Breeze Sansom holds a B.S. in Communications and Journalism from the University of New Mexico. Her experience as a Project Manager spans over a decade and was developed in the fast-paced environment of the advertising industry. Unless you know the secret password, Breeze’s smile will be the first to greet you at our Uptown office and depending on the time of day, she might even have treats to share. She brings a different perspective to the Contrast team, simplifying complex projects, juggling calendars like a pro, making travel arrangements, and helping with overall logistics and organization.

Breeze can also be found teaching and practicing hot yoga, enjoying the great outdoors with her lovable Pitbull pup, and testing her tolerance for spicy food.