Jones Seminar: A Camera in Every Pocket—Science, Engineering and Entrepreneurship

Eric R. Fossum, John H. Krehbiel Sr. Professor for Emerging Technologies, Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth

Friday, November 9, 2018, 3:30–4:30pm

Rm. 100 (Spanos Auditorium), Cummings Hall

How many cameras do you carry in your pocket? Cameras in smartphones, tablets, laptops, automobiles, medical devices and many other applications are almost universally based on the CMOS image sensor technology. This technology was invented for NASA at Caltech’s Jet Propulsion Lab in the early 1990’s, and later commercialized by spinoff startup company Photobit. The science and engineering behind this technology, as well as the unexpected social issues that have arisen will be discussed. A possible next-generation technology, the Quanta Image Sensor, developed at Dartmouth will also be introduced. This room-temperature, photon-counting sensor enables future computational imaging cameras operating in low light. A new spinoff startup, Gigajot, has been created by former Thayer PhD students and is further developing the technology in California. Stepping back a bit, we will also look at the process of discovery, invention, innovation, and startup spinoff in academia, including Dartmouth’s support for this activity in technology transfer and entrepreneurial thinking.

About the Speaker

Eric Fossum

Dr. Fossum is best known for the invention of the CMOS image sensor “camera-on-a-chip” used in billions of cameras each year. He joined Dartmouth in 2010 and currently serves as Director of Thayer’s PhD Innovation Program and as Dartmouth’s Associate Provost for Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer. Honors include the 2017 Queen Elizabeth Prize, considered by many as the Nobel Prize of Engineering, induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, and election to the National Academy of Engineering. He also received the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal, the IEEE Andrew Grove Award and Medal, the Royal Photographic Society's Progress Medal, and the SMPTE Camera Origination and Imaging Medal among other honors. Fossum co-founded Pasadena-based Photobit Corporation with other JPLers to commercialize the CMOS technology and served in several top management roles including chairman and CEO. He also served as CEO of Siimpel Corporation to commercialize MEMS-based autofocus in cell phone cameras. He and his students recently co-founded Gigajot Technology to commercialize the photon-counting image-sensor technology invented at Dartmouth. He and his wife enjoy their spare time working at their hobby farm in New Hampshire.

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