Steven Sasson: Inventor of the Digital Camera

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In this short video, Steven Sasson shows the original digital camera he invented at Kodak -- it's roughly the size of a toaster, has a (physically) huge memory card for temporary storage, and uses a surprising medium for permanent storage -- you'll have to watch and see. Let's just say things have gotten pretty advanced since this first device in 1975, which took 23 seconds to record the picture to the digital card, then 23 more seconds to save it off to "permanent" storage. Wow.

It's been way too long since I've posted one of these. This is my portrait of Steven Sasson, inventor of the digital camera. He was the 32nd inventor in my project. I shot him in October at Kodak's headquarters in Rochester, just a couple weeks before President Obama awarded him the National Medal of Technology.

When he initially mentioned that the first digital camera held 30 pictures, I assumed that was due to the storage capacity of the digital tape. It was really interesting to hear that he picked 30 as an artificial limitation, and his explanation why.

Update: A lot of people have asked what the subject of that first photo was. It's an interesting story, but the short answer is that the first digital photo was a picture of a lab technician named Joy. And he didn't save the image.

Inventor Portrait: Steven Sasson from David Friedman on Vimeo.

Check out more inventors here. Also, check out more about Sasson and his camera from Wikipedia. If you're really into 70's camera technology, check out this awesome page.

(Via Kottke.org.)

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April 25, 2011 - 10:39am
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