Chip Hall of Fame: Photobit PB-100

IEEE Spectrum

July 2, 2018

NASA didn’t want it, but the PB-100 popularized the tech that became the way people capture photos and video

"Photographers have a saying: The best camera is the one you have with you," writes IEEE Spectrum. "Today most of us do have a camera constantly with us, housed in a cellphone or other portable device, thanks to the CMOS image sensor, and the NASA challenge that inspired it.

"In 1992, Eric Fossum was on the staff of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in Pasadena, Calif. JPL was responsible for the construction and operation of some of NASA’s most ambitious space probes, and that year NASA issued an intriguing demand to its staffers: Make absolutely everything about space missions 'Faster, Better, Cheaper.' As chief of JPL’s image sensor research, Fossum was charged with reinventing the giant, chunky cameras aboard NASA spacecraft."

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