Bryce Bayer, inventor of the color filter array used to determine color in virtually every modern digital camera has been given the UK Royal Photographic Society's Progress Award. Commonly known as the Bayer filter or Bayer pattern, his invention of a pattern of red, green and blue filters allows a light (but not color) sensitive sensor to record a broad range of colors in similar proportions to the sensitivity of the human eye. The work, conducted while working for Kodak, was patented in 1975 and originally described a system intended for recording video.

Press Release:

Retired Kodak Researcher Bryce Bayer Honored for Invention Enabling Color in Digital Imaging

Royal Photographic Presents Prestigious Progress Award

ROCHESTER, N.Y.--Retired Kodak research scientist Bryce Bayer, whose invention of a color filter array enabled digital imaging sensors to capture color, is today being honored by the Royal Photographic Society with its Progress Award at a ceremony in London. The Royal Photographic Society, founded in 1853 “to promote the art and science of photography,” has chapters across the U.K. and ten regions around the world.

Bayer invented the color filter array that bears his name (the Bayer filter), which is incorporated into nearly every digital camera and camera phone on the market today. Described in U.S. Patent 3,971,065, “Color Imaging Array,” filed in 1975, color filters are arranged in a checkerboard pattern to best match how people perceive images, and provide a highly detailed color image.

The Bayer Filter enables a single CCD or CMOS image sensor to capture color images that otherwise would require three separate sensors attached to a color beam splitter – a solution that would be large and expensive. The red, green, and blue colors of the Bayer filter are fabricated on top of the light-sensitive pixels as the image sensor is manufactured, a process pioneered by Kodak.

“The elegant color technology invented by Bryce Bayer is behind nearly every digital image captured today,” said Dr. Terry Taber, Kodak Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. “Bryce Bayer is very deserving of this prestigious recognition and all of us at Kodak join the Royal Photographic Society in saluting him.”

In addition to his work on digital color imaging, Bayer developed widely cited algorithms for storing, improving, and printing digital images.

Bayer joins the growing list of Kodak researchers who have been honored by the imaging industry for their contributions to the technology and standards used in digital cameras.