Its December, 1975 and the setting is in one of Eastman Kodak’s laboratories. A young tense faced electrical engineering post-graduate presses a button on an 8 pound machine that is going to change how the world views photographs forever. 23 seconds later an image appears on an adjacent television screen and there by marking the dawn of a new era of photography — the era of digital photography. The young Eastman Kodak engineer has just revolutionized the whole process of making or shooting a photograph.
Meet Steve Sasson, the creator of the first digital camera. Born on the 4th of July, 1950 in Brooklyn, New York, Sasson graduated with Electrical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1972 and then went on to complete his Masters from the same institution. Following his masters he took up a job with Eastman Kodak. In 1974 his supervisor, George Lloyd assigned him the project of creating a digital camera which culminated in the invention of the world’s first digital camera in 1975.
The camera weighed more than three and a half kilograms. Powered by 16 nickel cadmium batteries it shot images at a resolution of 0.01 megapixels and recorded the images on to a cassette tape. Sasson persuaded his lab assistant to pose for the first photograph. It took him 23 seconds to shoot the photo and then a further waiting period of 23 seconds ensued before the image appeared on the television screen connected to the camera.
In the years to come many more companies would come out with digital cameras which besides having insane specs would also be so much cost-effective that photography would transform itself into a hobby for the masses instead of just being something exclusive to the rich and royal.
Steve Sasson is till date an Eastman Kodak employee and works to protect the intellectual property rights of the company these days. He was also awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government to scientists, engineers, and inventors on 17th November 2010 by U.S. President Barack Obama.