03 March 2015

Compact Cassette and the Digital age

The history of the Compact Cassette begin in 1963 when PHILIPS presented the first compact cassette recorder, the EL 3300 as a dictation machine. This format quickly became very popular and soon the Compact Cassette became a competitive Hi-Fi stereo audio format. Being so popular and widely available there were other technological fields that choose the Compact Cassette for various purposes. Here are some examples.

In 1975 a KODAK engineer, Steve J. Sasson builds the World first still image Digital camera. It had a resolution of 0.01 megapixel captured by a CCD image sensor and stored on a Compact Cassette. It took 23 seconds to record a black and white photo. Images were played back from the Compact Cassette into a computer and displyed on a television set.

In 1985 the same Compact Cassette was used, this time by TOSHIBA under it's japanese brand name Aurex to store digitized images captured by a video camera. The picture below shows the two components of the digitising-storing equipment. At the bottom is the digitising unit and on the top is a regular cassette deck from the Aurex/TOSHIBA range (Aurex PC-X66AD) using a Compact Cassette as storage. 

The last model we see here is again an audio equipment, but this time it's a digital audio recorder that is using a Compact Cassette. This OPTONICA by SHARP unit was made by SHARP in 1985. The OPTONICA RT-X5 model was using a 9.5 cm/s speed to record digital audio in 14 bit / 44.1 kHz sampling frequency format. Aparently it was only a prototype.


The shown equipments only made it as prototype units but, the Compact Cassette was fairly popular in computer data storage systems, such as military aircrafts.....and that's classified information. 
(Hush hush, you haven't heard it from me)

Discover more about the Compact cassette reading the history of the first