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Meet the Inventors Who Helped Put a Camera Phone in Everyone's Pocket

Feb 20, 2017   |   by Kate Samuelson   |   TIME

Next time you're photographing your brunch, perhaps you should use the hashtag #Fossum. After all, if it hadn't been for Eric Fossum you wouldn't be able to Instagram that avocado on toast in such crystal clear precision, and your camera phone would likely be the size of a briefcase.

Now U.S. engineer Fossum, along with George Smith (also from the U.S.), Nobukazu Teranishi (Japan) and Michael Tompsett (U.K.) have been recognized for transforming photography from something expensive and exclusive to an activity so simple, inexpensive and accessible that billions of photos are now taken and shared each day.

The four inventors were today awarded the Queen Elizabeth Prize – a prestigious award that celebrates ground-breaking innovation in engineering that has been of global benefit to humanity – for revolutionizing the way we capture and analyze visual information via the inventions of the charge coupled device (CCD), the pinned photodiode (PPD) and the complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) image sensors.

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