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Mr.RC-Cam

Interesting old camera technology

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While cleaning out my desk, I stumbled across a digital camera I played with back in the old'n days. I though some of you might like to see how far digital camera technology has come.

In the late 1970's I had stumbled across a nifty camera at a Silicon Valley show. It was the first time I had seen a "digital camera." I was blown away by how small it was. It was made by Periphicon, which may have been owned by Tektronix (not sure).

The camera used what was essentially a dynamic ram as the imager. What was actually a memory chip design issue (light exposure would affect ram data) was capitalized upon and turned into a video sensor.

Resolution was 32 x 32 pixels! It was B/W with a little bit of grayscaling (only possible by varying the clock rate). It worked like a crude CCD camera. This one had a nice macro lens for looking at close-up images. It was marketed for image recognition on automated production lines, or so I recall.

What was unique about it is that it operated on 5VDC and could interface with a microprocessor. I was starting to get into desktop microcomputers at the time and thought it would be an interesting device to play with. I left the show with the camera and a data sheet. Before long, I was able to display text from books and see my fingers moving around on my computer's screen.

Below is a photo of the little devil next to a modern Panasonic color CCD board camera. At the top edge you can see its 6-pin connector that was used to interface to the host system. It only sent 1-bit serialized data, so the host needed to do everything, including reconstruction of the image.

post-13-1084131857_thumb.jpg

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Whoa! :blink:

This one really belongs to this group of things that we'll always have to keep safe somewhere :)

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That surely beats me by a couple of decades. My first digital camera was the Apple Quicktake back in late 1994. It was pretty cool at the time!

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