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Leon D. Harmon (November 28, 1922 - July 1982) was a cyberneticist who worked at Bell Labs.

Harmon started his career as a radio serviceman and electronics hobbiest. In 1950, he went to work as a wireman on the IAS machine at the Institute for Advanced Study, where he worked for Julian Bigelow and encountered John von Neumann and Albert Einstein. At the same time he began taking night courses in engineering at New York University. When the IAS project ended in 1956, he joined Bell Laboratories where he worked on human perception, computer vision and graphics.

In 1966, Harmon and Ken Knowlton were experimenting with photomosaic, creating large prints from collections small symbols or images. In Studies in Perception I they created an image of a reclining nude (the dancer Deborah Hay), by scanning a photograph with a camera and converting the analog voltages to binary numbers which were assigned typographic symbols based on halftone densities. It was printed in The New York Times on 11 October] 1967, and exhibited at one of the earliest computer art exhibitions, The Machine as Seen at the End of the Mechanical Age, held Museum of Modern Art in New York City from November 25, 1968 through February 9, 1969.[1][2][3]

Harmon is best known for his highly pixelated, block portrait of Abraham Lincoln from the American five dollar bill. It was created to illustrate his 1973 article, The Recognition of Faces.

In 1976, Salvador Dalí used Harmon's image as the basis of his Gala Contemplating the Mediterranean Sea.

See alsoEdit

Abraham Lincoln effect

Publications Edit

  • Harmon, L. D. and Julesz, B. (1973). Masking in Visual Recognition: Effects of Two-Dimensional Filtered Noise. Science (1973 Jun 15) 180:1194–1197

References Edit

  1. Ken Knowlton. Mosaic Portraits: New Methods and Strategies. (PDF) PAGE 59 (Winter 2004/2005). Computer Arts Society.
  2. Studies in Perception I (1966), by Harmon & Ken Knowlton
  3. A Critical History of Computer Graphics and Animation: Bell Labs

External links Edit

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