July 4, 2015

The births of Steven Sasson & the digital camera

Today I'm celebrating two important anniversaries, neither of which have anything what-so-ever to do with the Declaration of Independence.   

Sixty-five years ago, Steven Sasson was born on the 4th of July, 1950, in Brooklyn, New York. Twenty-five years later in 1975 (forty years ago), when he was 25, he invented the digital camera (link below). 

Steven Sasson & his digital camera
photo by Steve Kelly

Sasson, was an engineer at Eastman Kodak at the time when he invented and built the first electronic camera using a charge-coupled device image sensor in 1975. It weighed 8 pounds (3.6 kg) and had only 0.01 megapixels. The image was recorded onto a cassette tape and this process took 23 seconds. The camera only took images in black and white. To play back images, data was read from the tape and then displayed on a television set. Needless to say, his invention revolutionized photography and The medium would never be the same.   

digital camera prototype developed for

Sasson said, "It had a lens that we took from a used parts bin from the Super 8 movie camera production line downstairs from our little lab on the second floor in Bldg 4. On the side of our portable contraption, we shoehorned in a portable digital cassette instrumentation recorder. Add to that 16 nickel cadmium batteries, a highly temperamental new type of CCD imaging area array, an a/d converter implementation stolen from a digital voltmeter application, several dozen digital and analog circuits all wired together on approximately half a dozen circuit boards, and you have our interpretation of what a portable all electronic still camera might look like."          

On November 17, 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama awarded Sasson the National Medal of Technology and Innovation at a ceremony in the East Room of the White House. This is the highest honor awarded by the US government to scientists, engineers, and inventors.

left: Steven Sasson                 right: President Barack Obama   
photographer unknown

On the 6th of September, 2012, The Royal Photographic Society awarded Sasson its Progress medal and Honorary Fellowship in recognition of any invention, research, publication or other contribution that has resulted in an important advance in the scientific or technological development of photography or imaging in the widest sense.

Leica Camera AG honored Sasson by presenting to him a limited edition 18-megapixel Leica M9 Titanium camera (engraved with the serial number = 4,000,000) during Photokina 2010.

Links to more info about Steven Sassn 
                   and the digital camera:
Birth of the digital camera             
The Dawn of Digital Photography     
Sasson speakes about how he invented the digital camera video              

Happy birthday, Steven, and thank you, thank you, thank you!

Styrous® ~ July 4, 2015

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