Camera phone was invented by a Parisian

Did you know the the first camera phone was invented by the Parisian Phillipe Kahn?

1 February 2016
By Connexion journalist

The first camera phone was created by a Parisian and the first picture he took and sent to family and friends was of his new-born daughter, Sophie, on June 11, 1997 (see below).

Philippe Kahn had already been working on the technology components for an “instant visual communicator” and after his wife, Sonia Lee, went into labour he completed the invention.

He wired together his digital camera, his Motorola phone (the most popular model at the time) and a laptop and started up the software he had developed which allowed him to instantly share the photo around the world.

He said: “This was in 1997. The web was four years old. What I had done was create the portrait of the 21st century, the first camera, the first phone that can point, shoot and share instantly.

“We thought there would be applications in all sorts of things, citizen journalism is the first, but then tele- medicine, scanning, barcodes. What we’re doing is trying to use this to actually improve everybody’s life a little bit and make everybody happier and healthier.”

Born in Paris in 1962, Mr  Kahn grew up there but when he developed his camera phone he was living in Silicon Valley in the US where he has founded four successful technology companies and has 100 patents to his name.

He studied at the University of Nice and in Zurich where he received a masters degree in maths and music at the same time. His love of music was begun by his mother, a violinist.

After his studies he left for the US and, at first, found it difficult to find a job as he only had a tourist visa.

Eventually he got work building computer printer cables which were in high demand as at that time there was no wi-fi.

He was successful and began developing his software technology inventions.

Mr Kahn continues to be inventive and his company, Fullpower Tech­nol­ogies, is working with leading firms on wearable technology.

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