Monday, August 23, 2010

World’s First Digital Camera UseWorld’s First Digital Camera Used Cassette-Tapes for Storage

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]

1 comment:

thinking said...

What's amazing is that Kodak went from a world leader in analog film technology to a minor player in digital photography.

Like many companies, they were too comfortable dominating one market that they failed to lead on emerging technology. They thought they were in the film business, when in reality they should have perceived themselves as being in the imaging business.

Reminds me of Sony, which in spite of inventing the Walkman, totally missed out on the portable mp3 player market.