Published 1 February 2017

The four founding fathers of digital photography as we know and enjoy today have been honoured with the world’s most prestigious engineering prize, in the presence of The Princess Royal.

The Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering is a £1million prize that celebrates world-changing innovations in engineering. This year’s winners have received the prestigious award for their contributions in revolutionising the way we capture and analyse visual information.

Engineers Eric Fossum (USA), George Smith (USA), Nobukazu Teranishi (Japan) and Michael Tompsett (UK) were awarded for three innovations spanning three decades, which have radically changed the visual world; the charge coupled device (CCD), the pinned photodiode (PPD) and the complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) image sensor.

Together, this image sensor technology has changed our everyday lives, from sharing selfies through to NASA live streaming images of Rosetta landing on Mars; watching our favourite sports live on TV, to helping us see cancers inside our body and has transformed medical treatments, science, personal communication and entertainment.

Thanks to this series of engineering innovations, today’s cameras can fit on a fingertip and are found in countless portable devices around the world.

Their technology is used over 3 billions times globally every single day.

Find out more about The Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering.