Eric R. Fossum
Eric R. Fossum is best known for the invention of the CMOS image sensor “camera-on-a-chip” used in billions of cameras, from smart phones to web cameras to pill cameras and many other applications. He is a solid-state image sensor device physicist and engineer, and his career has included academic and government research, and entrepreneurial leadership. He is currently a Professor with the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth in Hanover, New Hampshire where he teaches, performs research on the Quanta Image Sensor (QIS), and directs the School’s Ph.D. Innovation Program. He also serves as Dartmouth’s Associate Provost for Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer.
Born and raised in Connecticut, he received his B.S. in Physics and Engineering from Trinity College in Hartford and the Ph.D. in Engineering and Applied Science from Yale University. He was a member of Columbia University’s Electrical Engineering faculty from 1984-1990. In 1990, Dr. Fossum joined the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology and managed JPL’s image sensor and focal-plane technology research and advanced development. While at JPL, he invented the CMOS active pixel sensor (APS) camera-on-a-chip technology (aka CMOS image sensor) and led its development and subsequent transfer of the technology to US industry. Dr. Fossum co-founded Photobit Corporation in 1995 to commercialize the technology and served in several top management roles including Chairman and CEO. In late 2001, Photobit was acquired by Micron Technology Inc. From 2005-2007, he was Chairman and CEO of Siimpel Corporation developing MEMS-based camera modules with autofocus and shutter functions for cell phones. From 2008-2012 he was a consultant with Samsung Electronics working on 3D image sensors as well as strategic issues. He joined Dartmouth in 2010.
Fossum is a Queen Elizabeth Prize Laureate, the highest global honor for engineering. He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, elected to the National Academy of Engineering and selected as a Charter Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. Other honors include the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal, the IEEE Andrew Grove Award, the Royal Photographic Society's Progress Medal, the SMPTE Camera Origination and Imaging Medal, and the National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award. He received Yale’s Wilbur Cross Medal and Trinity College’s Alumni Medal for Excellence. An early Photobit sensor and camera is on display at the Smithsonian Museum of American History’s Inventing in America exhibit and he was appointed as an AAAS-Lemelson Invention Ambassador.
Fossum has published over 290 technical papers and holds over 160 US patents. He co-founded the International Image Sensor Society (IISS) and is Past-President. He is a Fellow member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), a Fellow member of the Optical Society of America (OSA), and a member of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE).
He volunteers on the Board of Directors of the National Academy of Inventors and the International Image Sensor Society, and the Board of Trustees of Trinity College. He serves on the Leadership Council of the Yale University School of Engineering and Applied Science, the Peer Selection Committee for the NAE, the Fellow Selection Committee of the NAI, and the selection committee and Board for the National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF). He also volunteers for Camp Invention and the Collegiate Inventors Competition, two programs operated by NIHF.
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Updated 11 July 2017