Marvin Camras - inventor who was widely influential in the field of magnetic recording
(1916-1995) was an electrical engineer and inventor who was widely influential in the field of magnetic recording.
Camras built his first recording device, a wire recorder, in the 1930s for a cousin who was an aspiring singer. Shortly afterwards he discovered that using magnetic tape made the process of splicing and storing recordings easier.
Camras's work attracted the notice of his professors at what is now the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT or Illinois Tech) and he was offered a position at the Armour Research Foundation (which in 1940 merged with Lewis Institute to become the Illinois Institute of Technology) to develop his work.
Before and during World War II Camras' early wire recorders were used by the armed forces to train pilots. They were also used for disinformation purposes: battle sounds were recorded and amplified and the recordings placed where the D-Day invasion was not going to take place. This work was kept secret until after the war.
In June 1944 he was awarded US Patent number 2351004, titled "Method and Means of Magnetic Recording". In all, Camras received more than 500 patents, largely in the field of electronic communications.
Camras received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1940 from the Illinois Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science degree in 1942, and an Honorary Doctorate in 1978 both from IIT.
In May 1962 Camras wrote a predictive paper titled "Magnetic recording and reproduction - 2012 A.D.". In his paper Camras predicted the existence of mass-produced portable media players he described as memory packs the size of a package of playing cards holding up to 1020 bits of information. Such devices would not have any mechanically moving parts and would store both sound and movies. He also predicted music and movie downloads, online shopping, access to online encyclopedias and newspapers and the widespread of online banking transactions.
In recognition of his achievements, he received the National Medal of Technology award in 1990.
Marvin Camras died of kidney failure at the age of 79 in Evanston, Illinois.
^ US Patent number 2351004, "Method and Means of Magnetic Recording". USPO. Retrieved on 2008-01-16.
^ Camras, Marvin (1962-05-01). Magnetic recording and reproduction - 2012 A.D.. IEEE. DOI:10.1109/JRPROC.1962.288062. Retrieved on 2008-04-30.
Wire for Sound. TIME Magazine (1943-05-17). Retrieved on 2008-01-16.
Obituaries: Marvin Camras, 79, Inventor in Tape Recording. New York Times (1995-06-28). Retrieved on 2008-01-16.
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