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CD / DVD technology was developed long ago, and the inventor got nothing !

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by SMASH, Dec 30, 2004.

  1. SMASH

    SMASH Guest

    Jan 18, 2000
    Great article !

    Scientist's invention was let go for a song

    By Brier Dudley, Seattle Times technology reporter

    Consumers will spend billions this holiday season on CDs, DVDs and machines to record and play the ubiquitous silver discs.
    But the inventor of the underlying technology won't make a cent.

    Jim Russell, a retired scientist in Bellevue, can only shrug, shake his head and tell his story.

    Jim Russell works with an early laboratory prototype of what was to become the modern-day CD and DVD players.

    Getting it on disc, Jim Russell's optical-digital recording work:

    1953: Russell joins General Electric as a physicist at Hanford, where he developed several instrumentation systems, the first computerized-control system for a nuclear reactor and the first electron-beam welder.

    1965: Joins Battelle at Richland and begins developing the first of three optical data-storage technologies.

    1966: The first of a series of 25 patents is filed.

    1973: Designs and builds first prototype.

    1974: Technology demonstrated to potential licensees, including Sony and Philips.

    1979: Sony and Philips begin joint development of digital audio disc.

    1980: Digital Recording established to develop technology.

    1982: Sony begins CD production.

    1985: Digital Recording goes out of business; assets sold to Optical Recording in Toronto, which hires Russell.

    1987: Russell's contract with Optical Recording ends; he becomes independent consultant and inventor.

    1988: Optical Recording settles patent case with Sony and Philips.

    2004: More than 35 million CD players and 25 million DVD players sold.

    Sources: Jim Russell, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (Battelle), Sony, Consumer Electronics Association

    Jim Russell, now retired in Bellevue, developed an early form of the compact disc and DVD when he was an engineer at Battelle. The glass plate Russell is holding was used to record a soap opera off television in 1974.
  2. Wow. I mean, wow. To think that you made that- and got comparatively nothing from it. There's a good excuse to become a bitter, evil mad scientist...[​IMG]
  3. there's an idea- the plot for the next Bond film, perhaps?

    "It isn't clear what the problem was," Russell said. "I think there was some feeling amongst the moneybags that it probably wouldn't work, [or] if it did work there's no advantage, no value in optical records. What would you use it for, and would people want it and, anyway, if it was any good, IBM would have already invented it."

    a depressingly common story with inventions....
  4. For a parallel story, google the name:

    Philo T. Farnsworth