Mitzi Ilagan |

Whoever thought about this genius phenomenon must have not foreseen its importance today. Well, mainly because its purpose was not just for your no-makeup and gym selfies.

Even if we all couldn’t get the chance to thank them personally, let me introduce to you, Engineers Eric Fossum (US), George Smith (US), Nobukazu Teranishi (Japan), and Michael Tompsett (UK). They are the four people who made selfies possible, and who were recently honored through the prestigious Queen Elizabeth Prize. This British Award, also known as QEPrize rewards and celebrates engineers responsible for ground-breaking innovation in engineering that has been of global benefit to humanity.

Four engineers responsible for the creation of digital imaging sensors have been honored with the prestigious Queen Elizabeth Prize, a British award that celebrates world-changing innovations in engineering that have been of global benefit to humanity. In layman’s terms, they simply have been awarded for changing the way things are being captured and analyzed.

queen elizabeth prize
(L-R) Dr. Thompsett, Eric Fossum, Nobukazu Teranishi

Lord Browne of Madingley, QEPrize Chair of Trustees, praises the four for their exceptional contribution to the world. “They have revolutionised the way we capture and analyse visual information. We deliberately chose an engineering invention that is sustainable and has a proper commercial application”, Browne says.



It was Eric Fossum who developed the Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) which we all see in the specifications of a camera. He worked on it at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in 1993. Together with Smith’s charge coupled device (CCD), Dr. Tompsett’s collaboration with Smith for the digital image revolution, and Teranishi’s improvement of quality of images though the pinned photodiode (PPD), they made cameras today of smaller size but better qualities. Prof. Teranishi invented the PPD which made light-capturing pixels smaller, as a result, it makes images more detailed.

You see, their inventions weren’t just made for your selfies to look better. The image sensor technology has made medical treatments, science, transportation, communication, and personal communication easier and improved. In fact, it has become so useful that some millennials can’t last a day without selfies. So, it’s just right and proper to award them with the  £1m ($1,252,600) prize along with the award. Thank you, gentlemen.

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