A pixel is not a little square
I was surprised to learn about the mortality of the pixel for the first time in tech news. The dead pixel of a computer screen. That was when I understood that the pixels surrounding me everywhere could die any day, just like me.
The pixel had become living matter inside a matrix, inside a battery, like a chicken, where death could creep up on it at any moment. In this new and unknown, living world of little luminous dots, I could not say exactly at what point pixels had made their appearance on Earth.
After searching through many documents, I was happy to finally find the pixel expert: Richard F. Lyon. First, the word « pix-el » is an abbreviation of « picture element ». And it’s not as square as we may think? It’s also a bit round! Hard to say when and where the pixel first appeared.
Richard says that it could have been in 1874 with Baudot*, with his paper tape and little holes.
(*) Invented in 1874, the Baudot code was used for traditional message transmissions in British and American telegraph systems. Consisting of a central hole with 3 holes on one side and 2 on the other, this type of paper tape continued to be used for the first transmissions of photographs in the 20th century. As such, Baudot’s paper tape could be considered as the first representation of a digital image. We could then extrapolate the birthdate of the pixel to 1874.
2007 – Albertine Meunier