The Info List - Steven Sasson

Steven J. Sasson (born July 4, 1950) is an American electrical engineer and the inventor of the first self-contained (portable) digital camera. Sasson is a 1972 (BS) and 1973 (MS) graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in electrical engineering.[1] He attended and graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School"> Brooklyn Technical High School.[2] He has worked for Eastman Kodak since shortly after his graduation from engineering school.[1]

First self-contained digital camera

Steven Sasson invented the first self-contained digital camera at Eastman Kodak in 1975. It weighed 8 pounds (3.6 kg) and had only 100 × 100 resolution (0.01 megapixels). The image was recorded onto a cassette tape and this process took 23 seconds. His camera took images in black-and-white. It used a battery for power, so it was entirely self-contained.[3] As he set out on his design project, what he envisioned for the future was a camera without mechanical moving parts (although his device did have moving parts, such as the tape drive).[4]

Although Sasson's camera was the first self-contained digital camera, it was not the first digital camera. Earlier examples of digital cameras included some cameras used for satellite photography, experimental devices by Michael Francis Tompsett et al., and the commercial product and hobbyist camera called the Cromemco Cyclops.

Life and career

Sasson was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Ragnhild Tomine (Endresen) and John Vincent Sasson. His mother was Norwegian.[5] His invention began in 1975 with a broad assignment from his supervisor at Eastman Kodak Company, Gareth A. Lloyd: to attempt to build an electronic camera using a charge coupled device (CCD).[6] The resulting camera invention was awarded the U.S. patent number 4,131,919.[3]

Sasson continues to work for the Eastman Kodak Company, now working in an intellectual property protection role.[6]

On November 17, 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama awarded Sasson the National Medal of Technology and Innovation at a ceremony in the East Room of the White House.[7] This is the highest honor awarded by the US government to scientists, engineers, and inventors.[8] On September 6, 2012 The Royal Photographic Society awarded Sasson its Progress Medal and Honorary Fellowship "in recognition of any invention, research, publication or other contribution that has resulted in an important advance in the scientific or technological development of photography or imaging in the widest sense."[9]

Leica Camera AG honored Sasson by presenting to him a limited edition 18-megapixel Leica M9 Titanium camera at the Photokina 2010 trade show event.[10]

Sasson was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2011.



  1. ^ a b "The Rediff Interview/Steven J Sasson, inventor of the digital camera". Rediff.com India Limited. August 7, 2006. Retrieved 22 September 2011. 
  2. ^ "Alumni Hall of Fame". 
  3. ^ a b U.S. Patent 4,131,919 Patent – Electronic Still camera
  4. ^ Estrin, James (August 12, 2015). "Kodak's First Digital Moment". The New York Times. 
  5. ^ "Sydvesten" (PDF). Rogaland-historie.no. 2008. Retrieved 2015-08-12. 
  6. ^ a b Dobbin, Ben (September 8, 2005). "Kodak engineer had revolutionary idea: the first digital camera". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved November 15, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Obama awards the National Medal of Science and National Medal of Technology and Innovation Ceremony: Speech Transcript". The Washington Post. 17 November 2010. Archived from the original on 10 February 2011. 
  8. ^ Schulman, Kori (November 17, 2010). "What You Missed: Tuesday Talk on The National MedalsLaureates of Science, Technology and Innovations". whitehouse.gov. 
  9. ^ [1] Archived August 22, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ "Photokina Daily" (PDF). Photokina-daily.com. 22 September 2008. Retrieved 2015-08-12. 

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