Digital Photography Wins Nobel Prize

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Digital Photography Wins Nobel Prize

Well, that title isn't completely accurate. But it's close.

Two former Bell Labs employees, Willard S. Boyle and George E. Smith, will share this year's Nobel Prize in physics with the man who discovered how to transmit light via fiber-optic cable. Boyle and Smith co-invented the CCD (charged-coupled device), which translates light into electrnic data in the form of pixels (picture elements).

Boyle and Smith's discovery directly led to the first true digital camera, developed by Kodak in the early 1970's. (Though it would be years before Kodak turned that early success into a commercially viable product.)

While the CMOS sensor may be supplanting CCD's in high-end cameras, CCD's are still in common use in point-and-shoot models - as well as in cell phones and many other applications.

So, the next time you take out your handy little digital camera, take a moment to appreciate just how cool it really is. Chances are there's Nobel Prize-winning technology in there.

   

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