Charlie Sorrel takes a look at the first iteration of a technological evolution:
Take a lens from a Super 8 camera, a whole stack of ni-cad batteries, a digital to analog converter from a voltmeter, a highly experimental CCD and what have you got? Kodak’s first digital still camera, cobbled together with hand-soldered wires and circuits. And the storage? Amazingly, images were recorded onto the cassette-tape you see on the side of this historical Frankenbox.
This happened way back in 1975, when the inventor of the digital camera, Steve Sasson, and his team of technicians tinkered this machine into existence. Want some specs? The camera captured a 100-line image onto that cassette-tape, yet even that tiny picture took a mind-numbing 23 seconds to write. Playback was possibly clunkier still, using another tape-player hooked up to a frame-storing devices that interpolated those 100 lines to an NTSC-compatible 400-line image and then showed it on a regular TV-screen.
Viewers wondered why anyone would want to look at pictures on a screen. The invention was patented in 1978 and then remained unknown to the public until 2001, although it stayed in Sasson’s possession. After that, we all know what happened: Now, if you show a film camera to somebody young enough they’ll wonder why anyone would want to look at a photo on a piece of paper.
We Had No Idea (2007) [Kodak Pkugged in log via Adafruit and The Boss]