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Chip Hall of Fame: Kodak KAF-1300 Image Sensor

The chip that brought digital photography outside the lab

1 min read
Kodak KAF-1300 Image Sensor
Photo: Kodak

chipPhoto: Kodak

KAF-1300 Image Sensor

Manufacturer: Kodak

Category: MEMs and Sensors

Year: 1986

Image sensors are so small and cheap now, that it’s hard to buy a phone without a built-in camera. Which is a result that few casual observers would have predicted in 1991 at the launch of the Kodak DCS 100 digital camera. The DCS 100 cost as much as US $25,000 and required a 5-kilogram external data storage unit that users had to carry on a shoulder strap. Still, the camera’s electronics—housed inside a Nikon F3 body—included one impressive piece of hardware: a thumbnail-size chip that could capture images at a resolution of 1.3 megapixels, enough for sharp 5-by-7-inch prints. “At the time, 1 megapixel was a magic number,” says Eric Stevens, the chip’s lead designer. The chip—a true two-phase charge-coupled device—became the basis for future CCD sensors, helping to kick-start the digital photography revolution. What, by the way, was the very first photo made with the KAF-1300? “Uh,” says Stevens, “we just pointed the sensor at the wall of the laboratory.”

Photo: Kodak

The DCS 100 digital camera required a separate and bulky pack to store its 1.3-megapixel images.

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How Ted Hoff Invented the First Microprocessor

Hoff thought designing 12 custom chips for a calculator was crazy, so he created the Intel 4004

14 min read
How Ted Hoff Invented the First Microprocessor

The rays of the rising sun have barely reached the foothills of Silicon Valley, but Marcian E. (Ted) Hoff Jr. is already up to his elbows in electronic parts, digging through stacks of dusty circuit boards. This is the monthly flea market at Foothill College, and he rarely misses it.

Ted Hoff is part of electronics industry legend. While a research manager at Intel Corp., then based in Mountain View, he realized that silicon technology had advanced to the point that, with careful engineering, a complete central processor could fit on a chip. Teaming up with Stanley Mazor and Federico Faggin, he created the first commercial microprocessor, the Intel 4004.

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