Steven Sasson, Inventor of the First Digital Camera

Today, humanity lives in the throes of a digital world that is evolving at a rapid pace – everything from streaming to gaming and especially digital photography. We often capture meaningful moments through the use of photos – a frozen reminder of one’s memories. Some, like Steven J. Sasson, possess the passion for capturing such instances. Mr. Sasson’s interest led to the origin of the modern camera as we know it today. In his speech “Disruptive Innovation – The Story of the First Digital Camera,” he begins with a morning in the 1970s at the headquarters of Kodak.

The idea of the digital camera, as Mr. Sasson would express in his speech – that at the time of the early 1970s – was a pipe dream. Mr. Sasson joined Eastman Kodak in 1973. However, the team did not have the budget to complete the goal, so Sasson and his team of electrical engineers used top-secret devices and tests like Charge-Coupled Device (CCD) and National Television System Committee (NTSC) TVs. The first completed prototype was comprised of only five parts and weighed 8 pounds. With the help of analog-to-digital converters, massive flat space, and even the earliest cameras, the playback system of NTSC TVs allowed the team to see results in 1975. Despite the completion of one prototype, the secrecy of this project had to be maintained; Sasson emphasized how ahead of his time the project was.

The first major meeting of minds took place in front of Kodak in 1977 and was a success to the point of being given a patent. The first professional commercial camera was released in 1989. Apple would even join the market in 1994 – asking for digital cameras from Kodak. It’s inspiring to think that our biggest failures at times can lead to innovation beyond our wildest dreams.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this look into the 3rd light seminar held at Lenox Laser; we were incredibly proud to host and be a part of it. May innovation and knowledge continue to give humanity a positive boost into the future.

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