Arlington, VA—The CE Hall of Fame’s 2012 class of inductees were honored at an awards dinner held during the CEA Industry Forum on October 16, 2012 at the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco, California.
Twelve consumer electronics pioneers were honored for their contributions to the industry, including the following innovators and inventors in this year’s class.
Willard Boyle. Along with George Smith, Willard Boyle can be thanked for transforming the world of photography. Before Boyle and Smith’s invention, the charged-coupled device (CCD), today’s digital imaging universe did not exist.
Born in 1924 in Amherst, Nova Scotia, Boyle was home schooled by his mother, who believed in the Socratic method of teaching. In 1953—after attending McGill University and a stint in the Royal Canadian Navy—Boyle took a job at Bell Labs in Murray Hill, New Jersey. On September 8, 1969, Boyle entertained fellow researcher and CE Hall of Fame inductee George Smith in his office for one of their regular brainstorming sessions. That day’s assignment: forming bubble memory using semiconductors.
After jotting some notes on the blackboard, Smith realized what they were devising could not only store data but also could be an image sensor. Within an hour, the pair had essentially created a digital imaging chip, the CCD. The first model based on the team’s ideas was demonstrated a few weeks later. The device was publicly announced in 1970 and was quickly picked up by several companies. A researcher at Kodak, Steve Sasson, built the first working digital camera in 1975 based on the CCD.
Robert Briskman. Already a satellite communications legend, Briskman should have been contemplating retirement as he approached his 60th birthday in 1990. Instead, he cofounded Satellite CD Radio—now Sirius XM—developing and implementing the first major advancement in radio since Edwin Howard Armstrong invented FM radio.
In 1990, Geostar’s former president, Martin Rothblatt, founded MARCOR and asked Briskman to assist with one of his incubator companies, Satellite CD Radio, to see if the idea of satellite radio was feasible. Briskman designed and directed the construction of three of the then most powerful commercial broadcast satellites, each producing two megawatts of radiated power, and launched them into a figure 8 geosynchronous orbit over the Americas in 2000. He also designed and built the earth stations and satellite control facility technologies to complete the Sirius system, and Sirius started broadcasting on July 1, 2002. Briskman’s technology was then licensed to competitor XM, which merged with Sirius in 2008.
George Smith. Modern-day digital imaging devices—whether in a digital camera, smartphone or game console—would not exist without the work of George Smith and Willard Boyle. Dr. George E. Smith entered the office of his boss, Willard Boyle, at Bell Labs in Murray Hill, New Jersey, on September 8, 1969, for their usual brainstorming session. Less than an hour later, they emerged with the single most important invention in the history of photography: the charged-couple device (CCD), the imaging sensor chip that ignited the digital camera revolution.
Born in 1930, Smith joined Bell Laboratories after graduating and was given the latitude to work on what interested him. In 1964, he became head of the Device Concepts department, a group formed to devise next-generation solid state devices. On that afternoon in 1969, Smith and his boss convened to brainstorm about semiconductor integrated circuits and whether it was possible to devise a form of bubble memory using semiconductors.
Smith had been involved with an effort to create an electron beam imaging tube for the Picturephone. After jotting some notes on the blackboard, Smith realized what they were devising could store data and act as an image sensor. The CCD takes advantage of the solid state equivalent of the photoelectric effect that won Albert Einstein his Nobel Prize in 1921.
Richard Citta. Born in 1944, Richard Citta became a ham radio operator as a teenager, building his set from kits sold at local electronics stores. Years later, he discovered the solutions to the digital broadcasting problem while lying in a hospital bed.
While in college, Citta worked at Zenith. His first project was more than doubling the functions of Zenith’s breakthrough ultrasonic TV remote control, invented by the company’s Dr. Robert Adler, a charter CE Hall of Fame inductee. Citta later headed Zenith’s advanced development for cable technologies, working on a new cable scrambling and encryption system. In 1987, when the FCC announced the high-definition TV initiative and the need for a transmission system confined within existing broadcast channel spectrum, Citta suggested the cable modulation system he was working on.
In 1988, Citta was perched atop a ladder while painting his house. The ladder gave way and he fell. While lying immobile in the hospital, he pondered the HDTV transmission problem and experienced a Eureka! moment. He drew diagrams for what would become the new VSB digital TV transmission scheme and presented his concept to Zenith. The breakthrough allowed the use of the previously unusable or “taboo” buffer channels in the VHF and UHF television broadcast spectrum, a key to the simulcast transition plan to digital television. In December 1996, VSB was officially adopted by the FCC as the centerpiece of the nation’s new digital television broadcast standard.
Douglas Engelbart. Engelbart envisioned how to create, access and share ideas and information using computers, as well as how people could interact with one another and work together more effectively in a connected world. He created the windowed screen design, the user interface, hypermedia, collaborative computing, multimedia, knowledge management and the mouse.
Born in 1925, his seminal work beginning in the early 1960s led to the creation of the graphical user interfaces (GUIs) now used on all computing devices, and he laid the foundation for how and why most of us use computers and the Internet today. In 1957, Engelbart joined Stanford Research Institute where he began to develop tools to augment how people collect, use and share information. One of these technologies was hypermedia, the linking of one piece of data to another, developed independently but simultaneously in 1964 with East Coast-based Ted Nelson, who coined the terms “hypertext” and “hypermedia.”
The foundation of the first hypermedia groupware system was dubbed NLS (oN-Line System). To help navigate NLS, Engelbart experimented with screen selection devices—pointers to navigate information presented on a computer screen, including a light pen, a foot pedal, a knee apparatus and a helmet-mounted device. In 1961, he envisioned a pointing device that would traverse a desktop on two small wheels, one turning horizontally, the other vertically, each transmitting rotation coordinates to determine the location of a floating on-screen pointer. Two years later, lead engineer Bill English built one from Engelbart’s sketches—and the mouse was born.
Byung-Chull Lee. Beginning with the founding of the original Samsung Trading Company in 1938, Lee played a vital role in building South Korea’s industrial landscape. Over the course of 50 years, Lee established and operated more than 30 companies in industries ranging from import businesses to high-tech manufacturing.
In March 1938, Lee founded the Samsung Trading Company to carry out his philosophy of making an economic contribution to the nation. By the early 1950s he had expanded his enterprise to include sugar, wool, and paper manufacturing that served as the cornerstone for Korea’s import/export industry.
Lee’s foresight that the future of his business relied on the electronics industry led him to found Samsung Electronics in 1969. By 1973, Samsung Electronics had developed a 19-inch black-and-white television and expanded into other electronics products. Samsung expanded into the semiconductor business in 1974 by acquiring Korea Semiconductor and entered the telecommunications business by acquiring Korea Telecommunications in 1980. In February 1983, Lee made what has come to be known as the “Tokyo Declaration,” announcing that Samsung Electronics would enter the DRAM (dynamic random access memory) business. A year later, it became just the third company in the world to develop 64K DRAM chips. Today, Samsung is the world’s largest electronics company by sales and leads the global TV, mobile phone, memory and LCD markets.
Other 2012 CE Hall of Fame inductees include: Bjorn Dybdahl, founder of Bjorn’s Audio Video; Charlie Ergen, cofounder of DISH/EchoStar; Larry Finley, founder of ITA (International Tape Association); Fansy and Henry Harold Gregg, founders of h.h. gregg; and In Hwoi Koo, founder of LG. ce.org