RIP: Bayer Filter Inventor Bryce Bayer Has Passed Away

Bryce Bayer, the Eastman Kodak research scientist who invented the Bayer Filter back in 1975, passed away on November 13th at the age of 83. Bayer filter mosaics are used by nearly every digital camera, allowing a single sensor to capture a full-color photograph with the help of some “mathemagic”.

Here’s an example showing what a digital camera’s sensor “sees” through a Bayer filter, and the resulting photo that emerges after demosaicing algorithms are used to interpolate the data (i.e. using math to figure out the actual color that should be at each pixel based on purely red, green, and blue readings):

Here’s the original patent that Bayer filed back in 1975. Titled, “Color imaging array,” the technology went on to become ubiquitous in the digital photography industry:

If you’d like an in-depth look at how digital sensors and Bayer filters work, check out this tutorial by Cambridge in Color.

(via Imaging Resource)

Thanks for sending in the tip, Phil!

Image credits: Photo illustrations based on images by Cburnett and Anita Martinz

  • 11

    Oh, Bayer was a person! RIP.

  • Rob S

    Pretty amazing that something created in 1976 is so important to the digital age. When you think about all the tech that has been created, been important and passed into obsolescence in the same time frame his achievement and vision is amazing.


  • rygarto

    Man, talk about wheels. Those have been around for about 6000 years and still rock! :D

    Bayer certainly helped birth the Instagram generation, though. Kudos to the great man with a brilliant idea.

  • Mr X

    So, do you realise that after all the battle for higher MPx it will start another war of pixeles, using a different technology similar to FOVEON, and all the manufacturers that are not allready using it will say that the old type (Bayer filter) is so bad and we must use the new one.

  • Nekut

    Bayer actually did a very very bad thing to image creation practice. Just for color he sacrificed sharpness forever. Bayer pattern is a very bad idea. I hope we will get rid of this detail blindness soon and he will never be forgiven!

  • AntonyShepherd

    When you think that Kodak made the first digital camera, and an employee of Kodak developed the sensor grid used by almost all digital cameras, you kind of have to wonder just how Kodak screwed it up quite so much!