A Kodak Employee Invented The Digital Camera Back In 1975 But It Was Suppressed

Samuel Reason | March 16th, 2018

If one of your motivated and determined employees came to you with an amazing finished product that blew your existing one out of the water, would you be happy? If your company was Kodak then not at all, in fact, they chose to hide the digital camera completely and hope it was never released at all.

digicamhistory.com

Steven Sasson, the man behind the invention of the digital camera went to work for Kodak in 1973. His role was to look into if a charged coupled device had any use in the world of photography. Through his research and innovation, he produced not only the first digital camera but also a way to display the photos directly onto your TV.

This was all shown to the Kodak top executives back in 1975, it was a strange looking device basically a sort of mix and match between a cassette recorder, a Super-8 movie camera, and an analog-digital converter. All this together let you take a picture and in under a minute you could record it onto the cassette tape which could then be connected to your TV to display the image.

His bosses reaction? They were not very impressed, the image was apparently grainy and they believed no one would ever want to see their pictures on a television set. However, Sasson convinced them he could improve it and they allowed him to keep working on the project.

And he did keep working on his design until, In 1989, the first prototype for the DSLR camera was created. It was no longer a strange looking device, this camera looked very much like the devices that you can find on the market today. Kodak, however, did not want anything to do with the device, their marketing team completely resisted it.

At the time Kodak was making money off every film sale in the world and every other step in the photography business. Why risk losing this revenue? The camera was swiftly hidden and the hope was it would never be seen again.

Of course, that is not the case, and though Kodak did make billions off digital camera patents until it ran out in 2007, their decision to hide the technology was ultimately a bad one. In 2012, Kodak ended up filing for bankruptcy due to the world adoption of digital.

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