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. He attended and graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School"> Brooklyn Technical High School. He has worked for Eastman Kodak since shortly after his graduation from engineering school.
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. 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).
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.
Sasson was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Ragnhild Tomine (Endresen) and John Vincent Sasson. His mother was Norwegian. 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). The resulting camera invention was awarded the U.S. patent number 4,131,919.
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. This is the highest honor awarded by the US government to scientists, engineers, and inventors. 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."
Sasson was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2011.