In 1974, Kodak supervisor Gareth Lloyd asked electrical engineer Steve Sasson to investigate whether charge-coupled devices could be used to create an image sensor for a camera. After a year in the laboratory, Sasson created a device that captured an image, converted it to an electronic signal, digitized the signal, and stored the image—the first digital camera.
An early adopter of digital imaging technology was the newspaper industry. In 1994, Kodak developed one of the first commercially-available digital cameras, the AP NC 2000, in cooperation with the Associated Press and Nikon. The first consumer digital camera to incorporate an LCD screen on the back was the Casio QV-10 in 1995, which retailed for around $650 and had 2MB of memory.
Today, consumers can choose from a wide array of cameras, from less than $100 to thousands of dollars. In 2008, 73% of Americans owned a digital camera and 34 million digital cameras were sold in the U.S., generating $7 billion in revenue. Virtually all of today’s digital cameras rely on the same structure that Sasson invented in 1975.
Raised in Brooklyn, Sasson attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, receiving his B.S. and M.S. He joined Kodak in 1973 and remains there today. Most recently, he works with Kodak’s Intellectual Property Transactions group.