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Inventor of the Square Pixel Apologizes, Creates Newer, Better Version


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First Digital Image
You might not realize it, but you live everyday with an arbitrarily imposed, but very real limitation on the quality of digital images. Russell Kirsch created the first digital image, over 50 years ago, when he scanned a photo of his then infant son (on the right in its original size). When deciding how to render the ones and zeros, Kirsch decided on the seemingly logical choice at the time -- square pixels. For this, he apologizes.

"The logical thing was not the only possibility," he told Wired in a recent interview. The technology of the time limited him to 176-by-176 pixels, but those pixels could have been any shape he desired. But he went with square; a decision he has since described as "something very foolish that everyone in the world has been suffering from ever since."

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SwitchedInventor of the Square Pixel Apologizes, Creates Newer, Better Version originally appeared on Switched on Sun, 04 Jul 2010 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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