Digital Camera Inventor Steve Sasson Receives Innovation Award

October 5, 2009 | Zoltan Arva-Toth | Global | Comment | |
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Steven Sasson, a retired research scientist for Eastman Kodak Company who is credited with inventing the first digital camera, will receive an “Innovation Award” from The Economist magazine in ceremonies in London on October 29. The invention of the digital camera began with a 30-second conversation when Sasson’s supervisor asked whether it was possible to build a camera with a new type of electronic sensor called a charge-coupled device (CCD). Sasson’s original prototype weighed eight pounds, recorded black and white images to a cassette tape, had a resolution of 0.01 megapixel and took 23 seconds to capture its first image. In 1978, Mr Sasson was issued a US patent for the digital camera and Eastman Kodak was the first company to develop a megapixel digital camera in 1986. For his achievements, the Economist is honouring Sasson in the category of Consumer Products and Services.

Kodak Press Release

Kodak Researcher and Digital Camera Inventor Steve Sasson Receives Innovation Award from The Economist

Kodak and Sasson recognized for “refocusing the face of consumer photography”

ROCHESTER, N.Y., Oct. 5—Steven Sasson, a retired research scientist for Eastman Kodak Company, will receive an “Innovation Award” from The Economist magazine in ceremonies in London on October 29.

Sasson, the inventor of the first digital camera in 1975, retired earlier this year after more than 35 years helping to drive innovation in digital imaging technology for Kodak.

“Steven has refocused the face of consumer photography by pioneering the first digital camera at Kodak in 1975,” said a citation from The Economist, also noting, “Kodak has continually driven innovation at the highest standard in both print and digital photography, as well as within other imaging products.”

The Economist is honoring Sasson in the category of Consumer Products and Services, and will present seven Innovation Awards in other categories. Previous winners of the award in this category include YouTube founders Steve Chen and Chad Hurley, video game pioneer Shigeru Miyamoto of Nintendo, and the Apple iPod team.

“I am very honored to receive this recognition,” said Sasson. “I consider myself fortunate to have been part of the digital transformation of the photographic industry over the last 35 years.

“Although this transformation has changed much about the way we take pictures, in the end, the challenge is the same. We are dealing with people’s most precious possession, their personal memories.”

Kodak Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Antonio M. Perez lauded Sasson on his latest honor.

“Having worked at several companies during my career, I’ve come to know many of the world’s finest imaging scientists and engineers, including a number who work at Kodak,” said Perez. “In that category, Steve Sasson, who created the first digital camera and continued to innovate through his distinguished career with Kodak, is one of the first who comes to mind, not only as a great scientist, but as a great person as well.”

A judge of the awards added this comment:

“It’s remarkable and fitting that an employee at an iconic company best known for film technology pioneered this seismic disruption … Sasson’s digital camera innovation certainly qualifies as a market-proven game changer.”

About Kodak

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