Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Somewhat good news from Rochester...finally

Somehow I missed this piece in the May 2nd issue of the New York Times, "At Kodak, Some Old Things Are New Again" by Claudia H. Deutch, until Shane pointed me to it.

Steven J. Sasson, an electrical engineer who created the first digital camera, above. Here is an excerpt from the NTY, with a link to the whole article below. My father, who has met him a couple of times, reports he is a very nice and humble fellow.

ROCHESTER — Steven J. Sasson, an electrical engineer who invented the first digital camera at Eastman Kodak in the 1970s, remembers well management’s dismay at his feat.

Allan Camp, a technician at Kodak’s inkjet development center in Rochester, works on the development of print heads for printers.

“My prototype was big as a toaster, but the technical people loved it,” Mr. Sasson said. “But it was filmless photography, so management’s reaction was, ‘that’s cute — but don’t tell anyone about it.’ ”

Since then, of course, Kodak, which once considered itself the Bell Labs of chemistry, has embraced the digital world and the researchers who understand it.

Read more here.

Check out this AP story about the digital camera turning 30 in 2005, sort of...
it would be 16 years until Kodak released its first digital camera in 2001.

Here is an image and hyperlink-based digital camera timeline. By the way, this is only the 1970s, so be sure to click around.

ABOVE PHOTO: James Rajotte for The New York Times

1 comment:

LKB said...

A fun quote from the AP article (I remember playing a game Bats on my Atari off of a cassette):

"Completing their final voltage-variation test in December 1975, Sasson and his chief technician, Jim Schueckler, persuaded a lab assistant to pose for them. The image took 23 seconds to record onto the cassette and another 23 seconds to read off a playback unit onto a television. Then it popped up on the screen.

"You could see the silhouette of her hair," Sasson said. But her face was a blur of static. "She was less than happy with the photograph and left, saying 'You need work,'" he said.

But an overjoyed Sasson already knew the solution: By simply reversing a set of wires, the assistant's face was restored."