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CCD Image Sensor Inventors Win $500,000 Award

samzenpus posted more than 8 years ago | from the the-great-white-north dept.

125

saskboy writes "CCD inventors were honoured this week. According to CBC News, "Willard Boyle, a Canadian scientist who helped invent the light-sensitive chip, accepted (the prestigious Charles Stark Draper Prize) in the U.S. on Tuesday. Boyle and George Smith will share the $500,000 US award for the invention of the "Charge-Coupled Device (CCD), a light-sensitive component at the heart of digital cameras and other widely used imaging technologies," the U.S. National Academy of Engineering said." Those other devices include the Hubble Space Telescope, and orthoscopic medical instruments. "Boyle and Smith came up with the idea for the device while working at Bell Laboratories in 1969. 'It was after maybe an hour's work,' Boyle recalled. 'We went over to the blackboard and we had some sketching there. We went down to our models lab and made one.'""

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125 comments

Sweet... (2, Insightful)

threedognit3 (854836) | more than 8 years ago | (#14782100)

God bless Lucent and all that it brings.

Prostitute Schedule for Feb. 22 at the MBOT in SF (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14782341)

Folks, check out the updated prostitute schedule [fuckedcompany.com] for February 22 at the Mitchell Brother's O'Farrell Theater (MBOT), located at 895 O'Farrell Street, San Francisco, California. The MBOT is the most convenient way for you to buy a blow job, a hand job, and full service (i.e. vaginal sexual intercourse).

I kid you not.

Please establish a hypertext link to this message. Spread the word!

Re:Prostitute Schedule for Feb. 22 at the MBOT in (-1, Offtopic)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 8 years ago | (#14782406)

Or go a little south to Tijuana and get full service for under $20 for a plain jane or for about $75 from a totally smokin hottie. Or watch and get full contact teasing with hands on for free. Myself, I find the hottie sitting on my lap and touching and being touched plenty. Worth buying a couple beers and staying a while. ;)

Am I correct in assuming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14782103)

that digital photography technology was originally developed for spy satellites and astronomy?

Favorite line from the article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14782110)

"He doesn't own a digital camera, saying things have gotten too complicated." Too funny! The inventor can use results of his invention!

Remember this (4, Interesting)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 8 years ago | (#14782112)

Not bad for some bad computer memory.

Or maybe you're not aware that light sensitivity was considered a peculiar and irritating characteristic of some semiconductor memory. Not much of a problem inside an opaque case, unless nuclear decay or cosmic rays generate a photon...

Re:Remember this (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 8 years ago | (#14782502)

I think there was a project in Byte magazine in the 80s that used an EPROM as a camera image sensor. I forget if it just used the erasing window or if you had to get the EPROM chip naked.

Re:Remember this (1)

evw (172810) | more than 8 years ago | (#14782919)

Not EPROM, DRAM. You're thinking of the September and October 1983 issues of Byte. Steve Ciarcia wrote about using a DRAM as cheap CCD substitute. I had a subscription at the time and I remember the article talking about popping the lid off of a DRAM. But a Google search (see below) says he was talking about a special DRAM from Micron with a clear window. I dunno, maybe popping the lid off the DRAM was from a different article. That was long ago. I couldn't find the actual article but the following gives a lot of the details:

http://members.tripod.com/RoBoJRR/techcorner.htm [tripod.com]

Re: Remember this (1)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | more than 8 years ago | (#14782592)

Or maybe you're not aware that light sensitivity was considered a peculiar and irritating characteristic of some semiconductor memory.

Hmmm... ever heard of EPROMs? The kind of chips that used to hold firmware, BIOS software and the like before flash memory arrived on the market? Those chips with a transparent window in them? Program electrically (like flash, but slower), and erase by shining UV light on the chip. Even ordinary sunlight will do if you're patient (couple of weeks, UV lights specialized for this task do it in 20 minutes or so).

Put a non-transparent label over the window, stick the chip in the dark insides of a computer, and erase time goes up into decades - how convenient, just right for holding BIOS software. Or put the same chip in an ordinary chip housing, and the 'E' for 'Erasable' drops off - voila, a PROM (one-time programmable memory chip).

(..) unless nuclear decay or cosmic rays generate a photon...

There are different types of radiation (including photons) coming out of space or from nuclear decay. But regardless, most radiation will either not get through the chip casing or pass right through the entire chip, leaving it untouched. Only specific types or wavelengths of radiation (like UV light in the case of EPROMs) will have significant effect, desired or not.

Re: Remember this (1)

lisaparratt (752068) | more than 8 years ago | (#14783276)

I seem to remember the original issue with RAM was tracked down to radioisotopes in the ceramic cases decaying.

Pixel density limitations (5, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 8 years ago | (#14782116)

Take a jar and fill it with marbles. At some point, there just isn't any way to fit more marbles into the jar without breaking either some of the marbles or the jar itself. Consider that between each marble is a little space left over. All that space is wasted, even though you can't fit any more marbles into the jar!

Now empty the jar and fill it with bread. Once the jar is full, you can press down on the top of the bread and make more room. In fact, you can pretty much keep stuffing bread into the jar for quite a long time. Eventually you'll reach the saturation point and no new bread can be entered into the jar. However, the amount of bread in the jar is many times greater than the number of marbles which we just removed. There was less space between each piece of bread than there was between each marble because the bread is malleable whereas the marble requires a fixed size.

There's a limit to the pixel density achievable with CCDs. Once the pixelsites get too close together, they interfere with each other electrically and throw off the sensor. CCDs are a nice stopgap measure, but they aren't the bread in the example above.

Re:Pixel density limitations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14782133)

So? Stopgap measure? Do explain.

Look at his nick for the meaning... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14782225)

of his analogy.

Re:Pixel density limitations (5, Funny)

jamesh (87723) | more than 8 years ago | (#14782183)

I'm not sure a jar is the best place to be storing your bread... or your marbles.

The bread storage problem has been solved for quite a few years now, possibly longer than CCD's have been around. The marble storage problem is probably still a bit open ended, although less important as marbles have a significantly longer shelf life than bread.

Sorry... i don't think i had a point either.

Re:Pixel density limitations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14782222)

If i had some moderation points, you'd be getting +1 Funny for sure.

Re:Pixel density limitations (totally off-topic) (1)

timothy (36799) | more than 8 years ago | (#14782470)

Oddly enough ... a professor of mine (well -- talked at orientation, will probably later actually be one of my profs) gave this illustration as some sort of cornball illustration about "obviousness" (if I got the gist of it); basically, he filled a jar with large rocks, asked "Is the jar full?" Some students said Yes (which is true -- *in the sense that it was full of large rocks*); he proved 'em wrong by filling it with smaller rocks instead. Full? No, because there's still sand to go! (Though also true in the same sense as before -- "full of" requires a some standard of granularity; we're all just a little bit "full of it.") Full yet? No, because water is next! Finally full, to the audience's general satisfaction.

I wasn't sure what he was getting at; I pointed out that atoms (including those making up the molecules of water) are still mostly empty space. At this, he got a bit flustered, as if I'd shouted out the punchline to a joke he was still telling, but I wasn't trying to -- I figured that was the next Zen master step of his lesson about perceptions and truth :)

Oh, well. He just went on, with a snarky comment about "Ignoring Mr. Wizard back there ..."

Re:Pixel density limitations (totally off-topic) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14782543)

Dry sand is heavier than wet sand, they say.

But if you take a jar packed with dry sand and pour water on it, you've added mass without adding volume to the contents of the jar. More mass means more weight, so the original postulate is incorrect.

Re:Pixel density limitations (totally off-topic) (1)

Ford Prefect (8777) | more than 8 years ago | (#14783447)

I remember a vaguely similar demonstration involving a jar of marbles and some sand at school - except this one was part of a chemistry lesson. (I was probably only aged eleven or twelve at the time, so I think the teachers were still in the attempting-to-instil-wonder phase...)

Anyway. It was used as an analogy for the mixing of (I think) ethanol and water - take 10cm^3 of ethanol, 10cm^3 of water, mix 'em together and you get a bit less than 20cm^3 of liquid resulting.

It must have been a fairly early experiment, 'cause otherwise any teenage pupils would have drunk the ethanol. Yes, children, industrial alcohol contains methanol, and you will go blind if you do that... ;-)

Re:Pixel density limitations (totally off-topic) (3, Funny)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 8 years ago | (#14783610)

Surely your professor based his class on the old joke:

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.
So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.
The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up the remaining space. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with an unanimous 'yes'.

The professor then produced two cans of beer from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the space between the sand particles. The students laughed.

Now, said the professor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. "
"The golf balls are the important things - your family, your children, your health, your friends, your favourite passions - things that if everything else were lost, and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, your car. The sand is everything else - the small stuff.

"If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take your partner out to dinner. Go out with friends. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the washing. Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the beer represented.The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of beers."

Re:Pixel density limitations (1)

dtking (956629) | more than 8 years ago | (#14782558)

Get a bigger jar. One of the problems with digital photography is the tiny, tiny imaging chips make wide angle a pain in the butt. If you can fit eleven megapixels on a 5x7 inch plate, I'll put it in my old view camera.

Re:Pixel density limitations (1)

Kohath (38547) | more than 8 years ago | (#14782895)

They could. It would cost $40000 because you could only put one on a wafer.

Re:Pixel density limitations (1)

inter alias (947885) | more than 8 years ago | (#14783313)

I wish prices would come down, I have an old kodak brownie [bouletfermat.com] from ~1914 that works perfectly (mechanically), but they stopped making the film some decades ago...

It can be retrofitted to hold some newer type of film but it would be the perfect digicam in disguise.

Re:Pixel density limitations (1)

Spazntwich (208070) | more than 8 years ago | (#14783137)

I love you, badanalogyguy.

Slashdot requires you to wait longer between hitting 'reply' and submitting a comment.

It's been 11 seconds since you hit 'reply'.

Chances are, you're behind a firewall or proxy, or clicked the Back button to accidentally reuse a form. Please try again. If the problem persists, and all other options have been tried, contact the site administrator.
Experi

Well deserved (4, Interesting)

Chris6502 (857915) | more than 8 years ago | (#14782118)

Having worked for a number of years in the optical astronomy field during the transition from photographic plates to CCD imaging I for one truly appreciate the CCD. No more baking plates in nitrogen and choosing the right emulsion for the wavelength of interest.

Now, the IR sensitivity was a different matter, played hob with the spectrograph we retrofitted with a CCD camera. First order IR overlapping second order blue.....

1969 (5, Insightful)

threedognit3 (854836) | more than 8 years ago | (#14782159)

Don't you get it....1969. Not yesterday, not the day before....1969. Most of you pups were still your dad's dreams if he was alive then.

Re:1969 (3, Funny)

quokkapox (847798) | more than 8 years ago | (#14782562)

/shudder

Thanks, I've just realized I'm sufficiently old that my own kid could mod me down on Slashdot.

And this could happen without either of us even knowing it. Great.

Re:1969 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14782604)

Most of you pups were still your dad's dreams if he was alive then.

Dreams? More like nightmares }:^)

about time (4, Insightful)

phlegmofdiscontent (459470) | more than 8 years ago | (#14782162)

I'm surprised it's taken this long to give them a prize.

Well, there was the issue of JPEG patents... (1)

Hamster Lover (558288) | more than 8 years ago | (#14782255)

Forgent was claiming their JPEG patent was violated with the invention of the CCD. That had to be cleared up before a prize could awarded, you see.

Re:about time (1)

ModernGeek (601932) | more than 8 years ago | (#14782656)

Doug Engelbart [wikipedia.org] invented the mouse in 1970, nearly went into debt a time or two, and was finally awarded $500,000 in 1997 through an award presented by MIT. After all the red tape and crap he went though, I don't think I'll be spending 15 years of my life trying to earn a Ph. D. when the results are a product used by everybody in the computing world, and years of debt.

Hehe kind of late (1)

chanrobi (944359) | more than 8 years ago | (#14782181)

For the $500k isn't it? I'm guessing he's made a lot more than that off the patents already for 37 some odd years.

Re:Hehe kind of late (5, Informative)

AutopsyReport (856852) | more than 8 years ago | (#14782263)

Unfortunately everyone else that utilized the CCD struck it rich, not Boyle himself. I saw this on Daily Planet yesterday, and how they were sort of joking about it. He didn't get rich because he didn't own the rights to the patent, his company did. That's what happens when you get paid to research / invent.

Re:Hehe kind of late (0, Redundant)

MikeWasHere05 (900478) | more than 8 years ago | (#14782277)

A quick USPTO patent search for Willard Boyle turns up nothing about a CCD, but rather someone who patented the sun visor and humidifier. In the article, Mr. Boyle states how he made the prototype at the Bell lab. Is it possible that Bells holds all patents on discoveries made by it's employees?

...not to mention... (4, Interesting)

rknop (240417) | more than 8 years ago | (#14782192)

...every other optical telescope in the world nowadays.

CCDs did more to revolutionize astronomy in the 20th century than the Hubble Space Telescope did. They enabled the HST, but also effectively multiplied the size of all ground-based telescopes by a factor of 10-- although it's not so simple as that, as CCDs provide a host of other advantages really making quantitative imaging possible.

CCDs were huge for astronomy. The "CCD revolution" in the 80's (at least 10 years before most people had really heard of digital cameras) made a big difference.

Re:...not to mention... (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 8 years ago | (#14782240)

CCDs were huge for astronomy. The "CCD revolution" in the 80's (at least 10 years before most people had really heard of digital cameras) made a big difference.

Yeah, that usually happens. Research equipment has a whole different level for acceptable component costs than consumer equipment.

One could argue that CCD's usage in telescopes gave them the money for the development needed to get the price down to what was needed for digital camera use. Then digital cameras allowed development to reach the point to more than pay back astronomy with improved detectors(though still different and more costly than consumer models).

Re:...not to mention... (4, Interesting)

Shag (3737) | more than 8 years ago | (#14782252)

And as an addendum, "optical" applies of course to not only visible light, but infrared as well. This seems obvious to you and me, but a lot of people don't make the connection right away.

This is a well-timed story for me, since I'm at the controls of a 2.2-meter optical scope right now, with a 2048x2048 CCD as the main instrument for the first half of the night, and a 512x512 CCD on the guider camera. :)

CCDs are my friends!

Re:...not to mention... (1)

rknop (240417) | more than 8 years ago | (#14782401)

And as an addendum, "optical" applies of course to not only visible light, but infrared as well. This seems obvious to you and me, but a lot of people don't make the connection right away.

Well, some infrared. But, yes, I've come to think of everything shorter than 1 micron as "optical" even though our eye can't see all of that.

Which 'scope are you at?

-Rob

Re:...not to mention... (1)

Shag (3737) | more than 8 years ago | (#14782569)

I'm operating this [hawaii.edu] scope. Not a lot of aperture, but a decent enough site. ;)

I occasionally also stare at the sky over at this [keckobservatory.org] other place around the corner from the first one, but in a much less significant capacity. :(

We likes the big shiny toys, my preciousss...

Re:...not to mention... (1)

Eightyford (893696) | more than 8 years ago | (#14782810)

Watcha lookin' at?

Re:...not to mention... (1)

Shag (3737) | more than 8 years ago | (#14782842)

Personally, I'm looking at a bunch of control apps and the guider output. Such is the life of a technological sort who supports the scientists doing the actual research. :)

The observer I'm working with for the first half of the night, on the other hand, is looking at a star formation region. In the second half, I'll have different observers, hunting for type 1A supernovae.

don't forget CMOS... (1)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 8 years ago | (#14782269)

...every other optical telescope in the world nowadays.

It's not as prevalent anymore; CMOS is gaining considerable ground in a lot of different imaging fields.

Canon, for example, uses CMOS sensors in all its digital SLRs; noise, power consumption, speed of "reading" the sensor (I think), and dynamic range are all much better. CMOS's only real technical downside is that there is a non-sensor component next to every sensor well. However, CMOS sensors are harder/more expensive to come by. They also aren't available as readily with cooling devices; a cooled CCD will have lower noise levels than a non-cooled CMOS sensor.

Canon did release a special version of the 20D for astrophotographers called the 20Da, with no IR filter...never heard how popular it was...

Re:don't forget CMOS... (1)

rebelcool (247749) | more than 8 years ago | (#14782325)

CMOS and CCD arent much different in final image quality. DALSA (one of the two manufacturers in the world of large format sensor chips, the other being Kodak) has a white paper on this. They make both CMOS and CCD chips.

The choice of which to use is usually dictated by other concerns like which goes better with an existing manufacturing line, or other electrical engineering issues.

Currently, most chips larger than 35mm are CCD. All the medium format backs I know use CCD versus CMOS (interesting fact..though there are several back makers, the chips come from either dalsa or kodak..) One thing about CMOS is that it requires more noise processing because of the every-pixel-has-an-amp by it on chip, whereas CCDs have fewer amps because they read off the analog data before digitizing it in a serialized manner. uneven amplifiers are what cause the noise patterns.

Re:don't forget CMOS... (1)

helioquake (841463) | more than 8 years ago | (#14782473)

CMOS is nice since you can make a large format detector easier; but then the downside is to make the detector sensitivity uniform (quantum efficiency uniformity), which determines the flatness of the field.

Quite frankly I'm impressed with what Cannon did with its CMOS detectors. It must have a good on-board correction?

Re:...not to mention... (1)

Chris6502 (857915) | more than 8 years ago | (#14782300)

Totally agree, but there are areas where CCDs still cannot compete with photographic methods. Namely wide field imaging. Specifically I am thinking of schmidt cameras. Until they can grow a silicon wafer that big CCDs aren't going to compete. Think of the size of the UK Scmidt camera for instance, IIRC the film size is way beyond anything that can be made from a single silicon wafer. And it needs to be curved to conform to the focal plane.

Even on a smaller scale a 6 inch square photographic plate packs more information than any CCD can particlarly for astrographic applications. Yes, a mosaic can be be generated but telescope tracking accuracy becomes a factor, a single exposure is always going to be superior to multiple images stitched together.

For people with large refractors where chromatic abberation is also an issue you simply cannot get a well focussed image on a CCD detector without narrow band filters, preferably stromgren. The added sensitivity really helps in that case. Just picking your IIIaj or IIao emulsion was much easier. But things move on and how many people use big refractors anymore

Re:...not to mention... (1)

Shag (3737) | more than 8 years ago | (#14782889)

But there's stitching, and then there's stacking... while a single exposure is obviously superior to a stitched set, nobody (if they can help it) makes do with a single exposure of something, right? :)

Yeah (4, Insightful)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 8 years ago | (#14782249)

1969. Back when we were building things. Inventing things. Making things better. We were actually investing in the future then.

Now it would require a "business case" before anyone would be allowed a moment to think about CCD image sensors, much less build them. Some rat fuck middle management asscrack would probably write the group up for "unauthorized use of business resources" and start drawing up requests for department-wide layoffs.

That's of course assuming brilliant people like these men who could "after maybe an hour's work, we went over to the blackboard and we had some sketching there. We went down to our models lab and made one" would get hired in the first place. They'd be declared "overqualified" or lacking "marketable skills" before they were even interviewed.

We were on the doorstep of the solar system almost 40 years ago. Now we're all parked in front of plasma televisions bought on 28% credit watching "reality shows." Talk about toilet-ramming the future. This is what happens when entire generations of education are wasted on purpose. What a fucking waste.

"When I was your age..." (5, Insightful)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 8 years ago | (#14782315)

Some rat fuck middle management asscrack would probably write the group up for "unauthorized use of business resources" and start drawing up requests for department-wide layoffs.

I honestly can't figure out if you're serious or not. Probably doesn't help that you were modded insightful- now you seem to be moderated funny, but I suspect you were not trying to be...

What a bunch of crap. You're buying partially into the romanticization of historical inventors, and ignoring the fact that you only really hear about the people who were NOT shut down, the projects that were not abandoned because of penny pinchers, etc.

Talking about the "good old days" when inventors just picked money from trees, never had to justify research, didn't struggle against powermongering and corporate politics etc...is a bunch of pure, complete, uneducated, knee-jerk bullshit.

Re:"When I was your age..." (1)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 8 years ago | (#14782375)

You're buying partially into the romanticization of historical inventors

No. I'm buying into present-day powdered-donut stuffing fatass-wedged hairpiece cheat fuck liar middle managers. Don't have to romanticize inventors. They're right there in TFA.

didn't struggle against powermongering and corporate politics etc

Wasn't anywhere NEAR as destructive as it is today. Not even on the map. Nice try.

Re:"When I was your age..." (0, Flamebait)

klaun (236494) | more than 8 years ago | (#14782484)

No. I'm buying into present-day powdered-donut stuffing fatass-wedged hairpiece cheat fuck liar middle managers. Don't have to romanticize inventors. They're right there in TFA.

I can't imagine why you'd ever have a negative relationship with your manager... or why you might have been fired.

Re:"When I was your age..." (2, Insightful)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 8 years ago | (#14782929)

I can't imagine why you'd ever have a negative relationship with your manager

Not difficult when the manager is a lying cheat fuck.

or why you might have been fired

When you see near-perfect employees fired and physically shoved out of the building, being fired doesn't really matter any more. It has absolutely NOTHING to do with how good someone is at their job any more. It's all about greed, lying and more greed.

Re:"When I was your age..." (1)

sane? (179855) | more than 8 years ago | (#14783444)

You either are young and naive; you live in one of the few spots that haven't been MBA'd to death; or you are one of those managers yourself.

Sure the 'good old days' weren't as rosy as some make out - but they were still at least 100% more receptive to new ideas, invention and innovation than those today.

If you have a good idea today your best chance is to pursue it in your own time and hope to hell that someone somewhere doesn't think you have been unwise enough to agree that your soul is theirs 24 hours a day.

Oh, and plan and prepare against the cold hard world that results from thinking powerpoints make up for failing to develop.

Re:"When I was your age..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14783547)

Talking about the "good old days" when inventors just picked money from trees, never had to justify research, didn't struggle against powermongering and corporate politics etc...is a bunch of pure, complete, uneducated, knee-jerk bullshit.
It's pretty easy to tell the under-40 crowd, eh? I'm sorry to tell the poster that he was born at the wrong time. Powermongering and corporate politics are probably as inevitable as death and taxes, but "picking money from trees" was the norm for those who worked for the monopoly that was The Phone Company. In return for the bushels of money that it was legally allowed to rake in from America, TPC refrained from entering certain markets (one of the drivers of the 1984 divestiture agreement was that AT&T would be allowed to enter the computer market, thus becoming the only computer company in history to lose not one, but two fortunes in the market) and shoveled money at research that had, at best, a tenuous connection to the business of running the telephone network (to be fair, a lot of money went toward things that benefitted the network). The closest thing a few years ago was the pharmaceutical industry, which had to spend money on "research" and was creative in doing so (would you consider contracting out for a whizzo interactive kiosk for the R&D building lobby, providing photographic lookup and interactive directions to offices to be pharmaceutical research?). But, alas, at one time, money grew on trees. Of course, one was required to fork over the patents for $1 and a plaque/certificate, but still...

Re:"When I was your age..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14783778)

Have a look at cubicledrone's posting history. He has been running with this rant for years. One can only assume that he keeps getting fired or he is a very very angry man. Either way it is obvious that he has a bad attitude and would be a pain in the ass for any manager. Cubicledrone is a failure in life. He blames others but he has no one to blame but himself. His anger is from his inability to understand the social world. He may have been told lies, but he wanted to believe the lies. Many other students were told lies about life. Many graduated with stupid ammounts of debt. Most realised that the debt was their own fault for not doing the easy math. They were angry but they adjusted and moved on. Cubicledrone has been unable to do that.

Cubicledrone lacks simple social skills and understanding. He should be pitied.

Bitter, naïve or lucky - pick one (1)

crimson30 (172250) | more than 8 years ago | (#14784236)

You know... people don't need any help in fucking themselves over, but likely more often than you would think, they get more help with it than they need. Perhaps you've been lucky to avoid unethical, cold-hearted, racist and/or back-stabbing employers/managers/supervisors/co-workers, but just because you haven't run into them, it doesn't mean they don't exist.

Sometimes you eat the bar, sometimes the bar eats you.

Mod insightful, not funny (1)

The Hobo (783784) | more than 8 years ago | (#14782316)

Someone mod this up insightful, the funny mark doesn't do it justice

It's like HP, their motto is "HP - Invent", that was 50 years ago, now they're a company that sells ink with region locked chips (this 'feature' may/may not be a reality... yet)

Re:Yeah (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14782386)

"We were on the doorstep of the solar system almost 40 years ago. Now we're all parked in front of plasma televisions bought on 28% credit watching "reality shows." Talk about toilet-ramming the future. This is what happens when entire generations of education are wasted on purpose. What a fucking waste."

You're too kind. 'Wasted' implies a mere passive neglect, rather than 'subverted' which is more the truth.
You assume an educated population is desirable - bzzzt wrong, they want you as dumb as can be and easy to control. You're right, we passed that golden age up, smart and independent thinkers are not desirable in
a the new regime. Its just too - 'unpredictable'.

Nobody wants rogue minds working on their own, people who might not be 'on side'. They're scared. They're frightened shitless of progress, of technology, of people like us who might turn their little world on its head with a single daydream. Their way is to subvert technology, Einstein gives us e=mc2 and they figure out how to make bombs. These guys invent CCDs and they stick them on every street corner to spy on people.
Little exposes the malignant pathology of a person so much as the uses they seek in technology.

But don't cry for the plasma TV generation. They are actually happy, They relish their ignorance, it protects them and they will defend the right to be a dumbass to the hilt. That shiny box made in China means more to them than any idea, any morality, any person. We are in the minority, depressed and traumatised watching the silence of the lambs, powerless to help or inform. Sometimes I'd like to unlearn everything I know, take a job in the car wash and sit in front of a 56" expensive toy I don't own while I drink cheap beer, but it doesn't work that way, no turning back the hands of time.

please may I have a +5 funny mod too, you weak spineless cowards.

Re:Yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14783229)

Lol! Great post dude - Slashdot paranoia is hilarious after a couple of beers!

Re:Yeah (3, Interesting)

Grismar (840501) | more than 8 years ago | (#14783468)

What really gets me here is that you seem to think you're actually better than people watching their plasma screens. I don't mind you thinking you're better off doing something else with your time. I can also see how the world would become a better place for you (and possibly a lot of the /. public) if all these people got off their couches and behind a keyboard.

But really, what moral advantage do you have over them? And how exactly would the world become a better place for them? As some other poster already mentioned, these people are actually happy as they are, or at least think they are without ill side effects, which pretty much amounts to the same.

And how about getting off your ass and actually contributing something instead of wasting your time on a forum like /., venting your petty frustration because some manager obviously had the good sense to notice you're just a waste of his corporation's money, his time and frankly: ours.

Re:Yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14783760)

"Their way is to subvert technology, Einstein gives us e=mc2 and they figure out how to make bombs. These guys invent CCDs and they stick them on every street corner to spy on people."

Wow... Just wow... I Love how some people can criticize the parts of our society that neglect philosiphy, yet at the same time, can proove to us that they are just as ignorant to what truly goes on in our world. Here is a hint: The Big Government and Big Corperations are not out to get you!

Re:Yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14782472)

Being in college at this moment I can tell you that although I agree with your view, that period of stifled innovation is over. All I see here at college are highly motivated individuals just dying to tackle the next centuries issues. The next 20 years will prove most interesting I believe.

Re:Yeah (1)

ExoticMandibles (582264) | more than 8 years ago | (#14782581)

Yup! Because, as everyone knows, middle managers didn't exist back in the 60s. Well, wait a minute--if we haven't invented anything new since the 60s, I guess they must have been invented back then. But surely nobody had any.

And technology really hasn't really changed any since 1969. I mean, apart from some new style sheets, Slashdot today is basically the same as it was back then, right?

How insightful!


larry

Re:Yeah (1)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 8 years ago | (#14782943)

Because, as everyone knows, middle managers didn't exist back in the 60s.

They existed, and their job was fighting for their people. General Motors fires 30,000 people now and nobody gives a shit. It's all the employee's fault, of course. They didn't have enough "marketable skills." General Motors firing 30,000 people in 1969 would have resulted in a national outrage that would have made history.

Well, wait a minute--if we haven't invented anything new since the 60s

Well we did invent $7000 televisions and 28% credit cards. That's progress I guess.

And technology really hasn't really changed any since 1969

It's changed. The U.S. is no longer capable of manufacturing it's own necessities, half the working-age adults don't have full-time jobs and we haven't been within 200,000 miles of the moon since the mid-70s. Three cheers for progress. Pass the croutons.

Re:Yeah (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 8 years ago | (#14783056)

Well we did invent $7000 televisions and 28% credit cards. That's progress I guess.

Corrected for inflation, TVs before the '60s costed a lot more than they do now, corrected for current money, they could be more than $20,000 (current money) for an average set then.

I haven't heard of 28% credit cards, I would think those would be going to the people that shouldn't ever have a credit card.

Re:Yeah (2, Interesting)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 8 years ago | (#14783310)

Corrected for inflation, TVs before the '60s costed a lot more than they do now

Corrected for inflation, wages have plummeted in the last 30 years.

I haven't heard of 28% credit cards, I would think those would be going to the people that shouldn't ever have a credit card.

Like college students. No better way to fuck over somebody's finances than to bury them in debt before they even get a job. Give them $20,000 in student loans and $20,000 in 28% credit card debt and watch them fail. It's fun for the whole society! Throw in a few "let's start over for the eighth time" layoffs, then make fun of them because they are financially ruined twice by age 30. Then let's tell them what losers they are as they try to scramble out of depression, debt and misery.

Oh, and let's also just declare their degree worthless the moment they earn it. Such fucking losers. They should be able to afford houses that are priced 50 times what they are worth.

Now let's all sing the company song.

Re:Yeah (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 8 years ago | (#14783070)

Yet, somehow Foveon had managed to make improvements by making a three layer CMOS sensor so you can use one single sensor and still record the red, green and blue for every single pixel. Most digital cameras are single chip, but alternate what color is detected based on pixel location, causing some issues occasionally.

Re:Yeah (1)

JimB (9642) | more than 8 years ago | (#14783504)

I am NOT arguing with 'cubicledrone'. I agree with him(?). I have ONE question to ask ANYONE who is 'casting aspersions' on his opinion:

"If Penzias & Wilson were doing satellite communication experiments in 2003, How much time would they be given to explain why their instrument was 2% off in it's readings ????"

The ovvious answer, which we all know would be: "Put a damned resistor in there and force it to zero and get on with your work !"

Re:Yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14784817)

The question is nonsensical.

1) Any RF engineer is going to work to investigate and reduce his noise floor in a sensitive receivet application.

2) Penzias and Wilson weren't just ordinary engineers, they were pushing the state of the art. Plenty of Ph.D.-types are working on new devices to push the limits of technology, and they *do* take the time to figure out exactly what is contributing to the performance of their devices and systems.

In 2006, a guy developing a satellite receiver is going to be using off-the-shelf components, on a commercial deadline, with commercial specs.

That's not because in 2006 everything is commercial, just that technology has matured in the meantime, so what was cutting-edge in the past is now just ordinary fresh-out-of-college-new-hire material.

Orthoscopic? (1)

TrashGod (752833) | more than 8 years ago | (#14782258)

Did you mean arthroscopic? Or, more generally, endoscopic?
Of course, that was some orthoscopic fix on Hubble!

Soundfx4 is my name, these guys don't need money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14782309)

So these two men invented the CCD device that is the heart of every digital imaging device ever created. That would make them millionaires and quite possibly billionaires from royalties alone, so...why would anyone give them half a million dollars? They sure as hell don't need it.

Re:Soundfx4 is my name, these guys don't need mone (3, Insightful)

NerdENerd (660369) | more than 8 years ago | (#14782377)

No, they worked for Bell Labs. they are the ones raking in billions on patents. The pleb in the lab never cashes in when part of a big company.

As to patents and payments... (1)

threedognit3 (854836) | more than 8 years ago | (#14782428)

Bell Lab a.k.a. Lucent got the rewards not these guys. Had this been the 90's they would have bolted and started a Silicon Valley start up...then they would have been mill....bill...zillonaires. These guys are getting ATT/B3ll Labs pensions...which isn't much.

Overlooked (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14782492)

Igor is overdue for the invention of the wheel 200,000 years ago.

Re:Overlooked (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14783750)

Igor? Igor Wheel? You're still around? Wow. I thought you died ages ago. And /. is the last place I expected to see you.

Hey, did you ever solve that problem getting royalties from Google for their use of your pigeonrank system? Proving prior art from the Stone Age is such a hassle, isn't it? The USPTO is so finicky about getting paper documentation rather than stone.

ahem... (1)

eosp (885380) | more than 8 years ago | (#14782544)

honoured? Ohh, weit, /. spilling erorr, nevver mintt.

Re:ahem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14783457)

Ha, just because that Noah Webster fellow couldn't spell!

Not just for looking out into space... (4, Interesting)

ChePibe (882378) | more than 8 years ago | (#14782559)

But at the earth [wikipedia.org] as well.

This invention really contributed to keeping the Cold War from heating up - reconnaissance satellites equipped with this technology were very useful to ensuring all sides kept their ends of the bargain during various arms control treaties. Not to mention their usefulness in charting maps and letting us all see from a new perspective [google.com].

It's kind of funny when you think about it, but this little invention has broadened our understanding of the entire universe while helping prevent us from blowing each other up down here on earth at the same time. You just can't say that about many things. Great work, gentlemen. Great work.

ENROLL ME (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14782628)

SIGN ME UP FOR THIS UNIVERSITY.... Maybe if I don't get in I can go to Bob Jones University.... Sounds like it's the way of the future

Wait a second... (1)

mac.convert (944588) | more than 8 years ago | (#14782711)

I seem to have forgotten, but I do recall reading somewhere about Ray Kurzweil's involvement in CCD scanning. I know he utilized the technology in his sight reading machines for the blind, and he made some sort of deal involving the scanning technology with Xerox. Anyone else remember this? I don't have my copy of The Age of Spiritual Machines handy.

500k$? They got short-changed. (1)

Qa1 (592969) | more than 8 years ago | (#14783398)

If they had gotten a restrictive corporation-style patent on that technology, they would have made billions of dollars. Sure, industry and inovation would be hampered, but that's a small price to pay for someone getting obscenely rich with money he couldn't spend in a donzen lifetimes...

I like articles like this. (1)

slackingme (690217) | more than 8 years ago | (#14783460)

Why can't there be more articles that highlight people who've contributed to society like this? While it could be argued that the CCD is not a huge contribution to the development of humanity, it has contributed much.

I admit, I frequently fall prey to not reading TFA. I took the time to read this short piece. It felt a bit of fluff, something to fill a quota, but I still enjoyed it.

I suppose all I'm getting at is that he media should highlight more people like Willard Boyle and less people like Paris Hilton.

Imagine what a change in role-models could do to a generation of children..

*shrug*

Where am I? :)

GAoat (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14783500)

won't vote in See... ThTe number

make money fast (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14784024)

1) Engineer a breakthrough in electronics
2) wait 37 years
3) profit!

Cell Phones (0, Offtopic)

gamerluke (815727) | more than 8 years ago | (#14784620)

I bet this guy uses a cell phone. Also the campus is probably surrounded by towers. These things are just as "dangerous" as WIFI. Not that there has ever been evidence to suggest that properly installed and used cellular technologies would cause problems anyway, but it is the same line of thought.
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