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Dartmouth Prof Wins Emmy in Tech and Engineering Category for Role in Smartphone Camera Invention

Nov 04, 2021   |   New Hampshire Union Leader

"A camera technology [Dartmouth Engineering Professor Eric] Fossum invented while working for NASA has become ubiquitous — the backbone of nearly all smartphone cameras — and become so much a part of the way television is made that on Thursday he was presented with an Emmy Award in technology and engineering by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences," reports the New Hampshire Union Leader.

"Now a Dartmouth College professor, Fossum said the heavy golden statuette is a representation of the way art and science can converge, and of the many turns his life as an engineer has taken — from working for NASA to leading a start-up and eventually to teaching."

..."He came up with the complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) image sensor, the 'camera on a chip.' It was much smaller and lighter than the refrigerator-sized cameras that had been mounted on earlier spacecraft, and less susceptible to radiation damage.

"'After the invention of CMOS, the camera on a chip, we realized it was good for planet Earth too,' Fossum said."

..."The way smartphone cameras have shaped entertainment — from silly cat videos, videoconference meetings and performances during the pandemic — helped lead to the Emmy award, a recognition he shares with Eastman Kodak and ON Semiconductor.

"But Fossum said he's even more proud of the way smartphone cameras have facilitated social justice movements, including the footage captured of the 2020 murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.

"'Social justice was not an application that ever crossed my mind,' Fossum said. 'And yet social justice is one of the things I’m most proud to contribute to.'"

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