PCC "Pizza-Box camera (1990)
This is an interesting story. A modern tale of David vs. Goliath. Three inventors, Matthew Chikosky, Marc Roberts and Jerry Speasl came up with an idea for a digital camera around 1990. They filed for a patent in 1990 and it was granted in 1992 (US5138459). They founded a company called Personal Computer Cameras Inc.. A law firm, specialized in start-up businesses, St. Clair Intellectual Property Consultants Inc. invested in this young company and a prototype was built. A private dinner party with one of the inventors, some lawyers and investors was held and here is what one of the attendees recalls:
"They (the inventors) called it a "Pizza-Box Camera", it was a gray point-and-shoot camera with a disk-drive, it measured about 5 inches high, 12 inches wide and 12 inches long. It could take black and white pictures and they were loaded into a personal computer to be viewed. The taken images could be stored within the camera in different PC compatible file formats like JPEG, TIFF and MPEG.
To make a long story short, they invented a digital camera with a floppy disk drive and had invested all their money into the company and the patent. Investors were hard to find and a merger (with Aura Associates?) failed in the mid 90's. Facing the end of their company, St. Clair bailed them out and in return they sold them their patents. PCC was at a dead end. Ironically Sony marketed their first digital Mavica cameras at that time. St. Clair noticed this and over the course of a decade they hit nine digital camera companies with a patent infringement suit earning millions in license fees.
The whereabouts of this prototype are unknown. No picture material exists. Although the events of that evening speak of IBM PC's and black and white pictures, the patent clearly states that the camera could also be able to store images in a MAC format and shoot images in colour. See also the PCC S400 in the prototypes section.
- Brand: Personal Computer Cameras
- Model: "Pizza-Box Camera" (working title)
- First mentioned: 1990
- Marketed: no
- MSRP: -
- Imager Type: b/w (prototype)
- Resolution: 780x480 (acc. to patent)
- Internal Storage: -
- External Storage: 3.5" Floppy Disks
- Lens: -
- Shutter: -
- Aperture Range: -
- LCD screen size: -
- Size: 5"x12"x12"
- Weight: -
- Remarks: internal flash unit and remote cable jack and possibility to record audio tracks (acc. to patent)