Thursday, October 18, 2007

Digital Camera Inventor Inducted to Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame

During the past summer I shared memories of a trip to visit family in Minnesota. For me, the ease of picture taking and sharing was both simplified as well as enhanced after I purchased a Kodak EASYSHARE V610 Dual Lens Digital Camera. Little did I know at the time that the first digital camera was actually invented 32 years ago.

In fact, at the time, I doubt Steve Sasson thought that the innovation that led to U.S. Patent 4,131,919 would be the beginning of the evolution of Eastman Kodak Company to the digital age. It is difficult to imagine the evolution from the first prototype, pictured at the left, to the powerful digital cameras available today.

Steve was recently inducted into the Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame for his contribution as an electrical engineer who invented the digital camera. Other founder/inventors inducted with Steve include
  • Paul Allen, who with Bill Gates, founded Microsoft
  • Amar Bose, founder and chairman of Bose Corp.
  • The German team of Karlheinz Brandenberg, Dieter Seitzer and Heinz Gerhauser, who developed the MP3 format.
Steve has continued in an innovative role at Kodak, including, for example, involvement in the development of Kodak EasyShare thermal printer docks and thermal printing. Earlier this year, Steve received the "Visionary" award from the Photographic Manufacturers and Distributors Association (PMDA). As a member of the Legal Division at Kodak, Steven continues his involvement in the intellectual property arena.

Although I suspect that innovations of this magnitude often take the creators by surprise, as Steve explains in "Plugged In" [Edit Note: Link updated. Kodak moved A Thousand Nerds to "Plugged In"]:

"We were looking at it as a distant possibility. Maybe a line from the technical report written at the time sums it up best:

"The camera described in this report represents a first attempt demonstrating a photographic system which may, with improvements in technology, substantially impact the way pictures will be taken in the future."

But in reality, we had no idea ..."

Perhaps "no idea", but vision and imagination. Congratulations!

This is a picture I took at an internal reception honoring Steve's induction to the CES Hall of Fame:


Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

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