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Who Invented the Digital Camera

 
 
Roland Karlsson
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      08-06-2004
http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/(E-Mail Removed) (Philip Homburg) wrote in
news:scnq67ij9bqv885h8cna7lnl05@inews_id.stereo.hq .phicoh.net:

>>You'll have a hard time convincing anyone of this thesis. Just about
>>all of the spectacularly successful inventions, theories, syntheses,
>>and ideas we have came from _very_ small groups, and in many cases,
>>from a group of size 1.

>
> That's because history books focus on people (and not on the
> transformation of ideas).
>
> "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."


You are both right IMHO. Really bright new inventions are almost
always made by individuals or small groups. It is not likely that
a large group as a kind of collective, in one place or many, at the
same time shall be able to make a bright invention. I cannot see how
that can be done. I cannot see how e.g. 25 people can be able
to make a disign for a new product. What shall all those people do?
Now, you can of course divide the design into blocks and then lots
of people can work, in small groups, on each block. But, it wil still
be individuals in those groups that makes the brilliant inventions.

But general principles, like the car or the digital camera, are highly
likely that lots of people have thought of in one form or another. They
can hardly be said to be invented at all. The wheel, the fire, the knife,
the showel, the car, the boat, the airoplane, the camera, the digital
camera, etc. None are inventions IMHO. There are of course lots of
details that are inventions. A special kind of steel that gives good
knifes and a special kind of engine that can propel cars a special
method for recording images. That are inventions.

Now, there is another issue. Who was first? When a certain "invention" is
just begging to be made any day, i.e. everything has matured to make the
invention obvious. Then someone has to be the first one. For some reason
we people think that is important. And sometimes it is - when it comes to
very bright inventions. But simple "inventions" that will be made by
someone else tomorrow - why care about who is first? There are patent
issues of course. But - it shall not be possible to take a patent for
an "invention" that any skilled engineer can foresee. But - I would say
that most patents fall into three categories - things that an engineer
can foresee, things that are already invented and just crap. The fourth
category - really brilliant stuff - is very rare indeed. The fifth
category - things that are expensive to develop - might be more common
though.


/Roland
 
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Bowser
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      08-06-2004

"Roger Whitehead" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed)...
> In article <XUtQc.624$(E-Mail Removed)>, Bowser wrote:
> > The VCR was invented by AMPEX, and Sony copied the idea and concept in

order
> > to make this industrial machine available to consumers

>
> The compiler of this chronology thinks otherwise -
> http://history.acusd.edu/gen/recording/notes.html . Look at the entry for
> 1969.


15 years after Ampex invented video tape recording with a rotating helical
head:
http://www.ampex.com/03corp/03corp.html

There's even a famous story about Akio Morita, the founder of Sony, who saw
the Ampex machine demonstrated, and immediately saw the consumer potential.
He returned to Japan on a mission to make the technology available to
consumers. Sony did not invent video tape recording, but they did bring it
into the home.

>
> Roger
>



 
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Charlie Self
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      08-06-2004
Roland Karlsson notes:

>It is not likely that
>a large group as a kind of collective, in one place or many, at the
>same time shall be able to make a bright invention. I cannot see how
>that can be done. I cannot see how e.g. 25 people can be able
>to make a disign for a new product. What shall all those people do?
>Now, you can of course divide the design into blocks and then lots
>of people can work, in small groups, on each block. But, it wil still
>be individuals in those groups that makes the brilliant inventions.
>


Of course. That's why the old saying is, "A camel is a horse designed by a
committee," exists.

Charlie Self
"Inanimate objects are classified scientifically into three major categories -
those that don't work, those that break down and those that get lost." Russell
Baker
 
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eawckyegcy@yahoo.com
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      08-06-2004
(E-Mail Removed) (Philip Homburg) wrote:

>>You'll have a hard time convincing anyone of this thesis. Just

about
>>all of the spectacularly successful inventions, theories, syntheses,
>>and ideas we have came from _very_ small groups, and in many cases,
>>from a group of size 1.

>
> That's because history books focus on people


But we need only observe what the person contributed/published, as
opposed to reading a history book or other summary.

> (and not on the transformation of ideas).


We can ask then: what "transformation" was required for, say, Max
Planck to state that E = hv? Answer: none, as he basically pulled it
out of thin air to solve a nasty problem of classical physics. (See:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planck%...w_of_Radiation and other
references). Another one: Einstein's original 1905 paper on Special
Relativity has _NO REFERNCES_ whatsoever. There is no
"transformation" here --just a wickedly sharp insight into how
something works.

The "transformation of ideas" is just a fancy way of observing how the
best ideas are pounced upon by lesser minds and put to actual use.
Not that there is anything inherently wrong, undesirable, or whatever,
of this (a fact for which the lesser mind writing these words is most
grateful!). It just happens to be the way things work.

But the central insights seem to invariably come from an individual or
a very small group. Examples are legion:

Gauss, Euler, Kelvin, Maxwell, Einstein, Planck, Bohr, Pauli, von
Neuman, ...

many more can be cited (the above is heavily biased towards
mathematics and physics, but similar lists can be drawn up for
medicine, biology, etc), along with their related insights.

Even the inventions and other devices that form the infrastructure of
our civilization appear to come from single persons. What committee,
for example, designed the first flush toilet? Which international
standards body invented the transistor? The integrated circuit? In
these and other cases, the invention starts as a seed in one person or
a tight group of collaborators and rapidly spreads as others either
make direct use of it, or improve it.

Perhaps a better word for all this is "evolution", not
"transformation". Simply because evolution includes the possibility
of an unforseen innovation or discovery -- and the normal forces take
it from there. To that extent, it makes no sense to ask "who invented
the digital camera", since, like putting people on the Moon, it is
clearly a product of technological evolution -- no penetrating
insights required once some groundwork is laid. We can only trace it
back to the necessary insights: CCD, integrated circuit, transistor,
solid state electronics, quantum theory (insight), is one branch,
analog camera, photochemistry, geometric optics, the eye (insight (*))
is another.

> "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."


If we remove the undercurrent of "you can't get to B without first
passing A" embedded here (which is, like, trivially obvious), note
that this statement is consistent with the notion that the greatest
insights are from individuals ("giants"), not the mass activities of
large groups.

(*) Taking it back further, there is a theory that it was the
innovation of the eye itself back 543 million years ago that pulled
the trigger of the Cambrian explosion. Indeed, this theory is another
excellent example of a "bolt from the blue" that has essentially no
"prior art" (as the IP freaks say), but solves so many problems. See
Parker's book "In the Blink of an Eye" for details. (google it up for
reviews, but it is recommended reading.)
 
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y_p_w
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      08-06-2004
"Bowser" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message news:<JuKQc.628$(E-Mail Removed)>...
> "Roger Whitehead" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
> news:(E-Mail Removed)...
> > In article <XUtQc.624$(E-Mail Removed)>, Bowser wrote:
> > > The VCR was invented by AMPEX, and Sony copied the idea and concept in

> order
> > > to make this industrial machine available to consumers

> >
> > The compiler of this chronology thinks otherwise -
> > http://history.acusd.edu/gen/recording/notes.html . Look at the entry for
> > 1969.

>
> 15 years after Ampex invented video tape recording with a rotating helical
> head:
> http://www.ampex.com/03corp/03corp.html
>
> There's even a famous story about Akio Morita, the founder of Sony, who saw
> the Ampex machine demonstrated, and immediately saw the consumer potential.
> He returned to Japan on a mission to make the technology available to
> consumers. Sony did not invent video tape recording, but they did bring it
> into the home.


You do realize that VCR stands for "video cassette recorder", right?.
The previous implementations by Ampex, RCA, etc were open reel. So
it is factually correct that Sony developed/invented the first working
VCR, which was after Ampex developed/invented the first working
videotape recorder.
 
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Roger Whitehead
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      08-06-2004
In article <(E-Mail Removed)> , Y_p_w wrote:
> You do realize that VCR stands for "video cassette recorder", right?...


Thank you. It appears that Bowser literally needs this spelling out.

Roger

 
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y_p_w
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      08-07-2004


Steve Hix wrote:

> In article <kTsQc.16332$gE.8997@pd7tw3no>, "greg" <(E-Mail Removed)>
> wrote:
>
>
>>"Larry R Harrison Jr" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
>>news:AGhQc.2998$yh.1992@fed1read05...
>>
>>>Typically it's clear-cut who invented what. Sony invented the VCR

>>
>>Whoa, I'm not sure I believe that.

>
>
> You're right. Charles Paulson Ginsburg invented the VCR at Ampex
> (remember them?), U.S. patent number 2,956,114.
>
> http://www.engology.com/eng5ginsburg.htm


There's still a prominent AMPEX sign visible from US Highway 101
in Redwood City, California. You'll see it if you're travelling
between San Francisco and San Jose.

BTW - apparently Ray Dolby worked on the VTR project while he was
an undergrad at Stanford.

 
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y_p_w
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      08-07-2004


Dave Herzstein wrote:

> Larry R Harrison Jr wrote:
>
>>Typically it's clear-cut who invented what. Sony invented the VCR and the
>>[snip]

>
>
> I grew up in the town where Ampex was manufacturing videotape equipment
> (studio and broadcast equipment) in the 1960's... long before Sony was a
> brand-name in the USA.


Again. Did these VTRs that Ampex made in the 60's use cassettes (VCR),
or were they open reel? Sony invented the VCR - period. Popping in
a cassette made for easier cataloging, and faster operation.

 
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Steve Hix
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Posts: n/a
 
      08-07-2004
In article <rvWQc.11724$(E-Mail Removed). net>,
y_p_w <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> Dave Herzstein wrote:
>
> > Larry R Harrison Jr wrote:
> >
> >>Typically it's clear-cut who invented what. Sony invented the VCR and the
> >>[snip]

> >
> >
> > I grew up in the town where Ampex was manufacturing videotape equipment
> > (studio and broadcast equipment) in the 1960's... long before Sony was a
> > brand-name in the USA.

>
> Again. Did these VTRs that Ampex made in the 60's use cassettes (VCR),
> or were they open reel?


RCA made videotape cartridge systems for broadcast studio use
specifically to provide a simple and (mostly) reliable method of spot
playback in the mid-1960s. They were not open-reel decks.

In 1969, RCA demonstrated SelectaVision that played pre-recorded
cassettes but did not record. In the same year, Sony introduced a
3/4-inch U-Matic video tape cassette.

In 1970, N.V. Philips introduced its own videocassette recorder (VCR)
format in Europe. The system that used square cassettes with a recording
time of one hour (the Video Compact Cassette system).

In November, 1975, Sony introduced the Betamax consumer VCR in the U.S.
(console only).

> Sony invented the VCR - period. Popping in
> a cassette made for easier cataloging, and faster operation.


If you change that to "first commercially-successful consumer VCR
system", you can probably avoid a lot of argument.
 
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Roland Karlsson
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      08-07-2004
y_p_w <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in news:rvWQc.11724$cK.7988
@newsread2.news.pas.earthlink.net:

> Again. Did these VTRs that Ampex made in the 60's use cassettes (VCR),
> or were they open reel? Sony invented the VCR - period. Popping in
> a cassette made for easier cataloging, and faster operation.
>


Now - one thing - you cannot invent using casettes to put video
tapes in. That is not an invention; it is obvious technology.
In a video casett recorder there are probably tenths of clever
inventions. But using casettes for vido tapes is not one of them.


/Roland
 
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