The Inventors Of Digital Cameras Have Won A £1m Queen Elizabeth Prize

The creators of the CCD and CMOS sensor, as well as the PPD, have been awarded the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering.

| Industry News

The Inventors Of Digital Cameras Have Won A £1m Queen Elizabeth Prize: APS-C CMOS Sensors

APS-C CMOS Sensors


Four engineers who revolutionised digital photography have been awarded the prestigious Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering

The engineering achievements of Eric Fossum, George Smith, Nobukazu Teranishi and Michael Tompsett span 30 years and without their research and work, the CCD and CMOS sensor, as well as the pinned photodiode (PPD), wouldn't exist.

Today, around 100 cameras are made using CMOS technology every second, something that wouldn't be possible without the four engineers, and this technology has also enabled us to share in excess of 3 billion images a day. 

The development of the CCD sensor began in the 1970s with George Smith and Willard Boyle (now deceased) and later, Michael Tompsett recognised its imaging potential. The following decade, Nobukazu Teranishi invented the PPD which improved image quality and finally, the development of the CMOS sensor by Eric Fossum in the early nineties meant cameras would become more affordable, cheaper and have better batteries. 


The Inventors Of Digital Cameras Have Won A £1m Queen Elizabeth Prize: Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering winners

Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering 2017 winners 


Commenting on why the 4 engineers were chosen as the winners, Professor Sir Christopher Snowden, Chair of the Judging Panel, said: "A picture is a universal form of communication, It can be shared instantly with anyone around the world, no matter what language we speak. We chose this innovation to win the QEPrize this year because it epitomises what the prize stands for. Everyone around the world, especially young people, understands the importance of images. This engineering innovation is inspirational, it is truly something that everyone can understand and it has had a remarkable social impact worldwide." 

The winners will be formally honoured in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace and along with a £1m prize, each will receive a trophy. 

Here's a video of the QEPrize judges commenting on the award and why the technology the engineers created deserved to be recognised: 


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