The Inventor of the Digital Camera
Steven J. Sasson is an electrical engineer and the inventor of the digital camera and his invention began with a simple 30-second conversation with his boss.
In this film, Sasson brings along the invaluable camera and discusses with us in vivd detail his premise for creating the very first digital camera. On a very low budget and literally working out of an Eastman Kodak “back lab”, he recounts the initial imperfections and numerous intricacies involved with this revolutionary project.
Sasson began in 1975 with a very broad assignment from his supervisor at Eastman Kodak Company. The task was, could a digital camera be built using solid state electronics, solid state imagers, an electronic sensor known as a charge coupled device (CCD) that gathers optical information. The practical side was somewhat daunting. His camera had to be built from many different devices as Sasson used whatever that was made available: an analog-to-digital converter adapted from Motorola Inc. components, a Kodak movie-camera lens and the tiny CCD chips introduced by Fairchild Semiconductor.
There were no images to look at until the entire prototype — an 8-pound (3.6-kilogram), microwave-size contraption — was assembled. In December 1975, Sasson and his chief technician persuaded a lab assistant to pose for them. The black-and-white image, captured at a resolution of .01 megapixels (10,000 pixels), took 23 seconds to record onto a digital cassette tape and another 23 seconds to read off a playback unit onto a television. Then it popped up on the screen.