Richard Francis Lyon

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Not to be confused with Richard F. Lyon.
Richard Francis Lyon

Richard Francis Lyon (born 1952), is an American inventor, scientist, and engineer, noted for having invented the optical mouse[citation needed]. He has worked in many aspects of signal processing and was a co-founder of Foveon Inc., a digital camera and image sensor company.


Lyon grew up in El Paso, Texas, one of nine children. He received a B.S. from Caltech in 1974 and a M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University in 1975.

Lyon has worked at a number of Silicon Valley companies, including Stanford Telecommunications, Xerox, Schlumberger, Apple, Foveon, and Google.

Inventions and research[edit]

In 1981, Lyon built the first optical mouse, at Xerox,[1] for which he was awarded two U.S. patents, now expired.[2][3]

He also did pioneering work in the following areas:

  • GPS: Lyon designed early Global Positioning System test transmitters.[4]
  • Ethernet hardware: Lyon invented the first single-chip Ethernet device.[5][6]
  • Digital memory: Lyon did early work on static CMOS memory and designed the most efficient large CMOS address decoder.[7][8]
  • Auditory processing: Lyon invented a cochlear model that is used as the basis of much auditory research today.[9]
  • Digital color photography: Lyon invented optical and integrated-circuit techniques that allow digital cameras to be denser and more accurate.[10]



  1. ^ Richard F. Lyon, "The Optical Mouse, and an Architectural Methodology for Smart Digital Sensors", Invited Paper, CMU Conference on VLSI Systems and Computations, Pittsburgh (Kung, Sproull, and Steele, editors), Computer Science Press, October 1981.
  2. ^ U.S. Patent 4,521,772: Lyon, "Cursor Control Device", Jun. 4, 1985.
  3. ^ U.S. Patent 4,521,773: Lyon, "Imaging Array", Jun. 4, 1985.
  4. ^ Richard F. Lyon and James J. Spilker, Jr., "Multisatellite Signal Simulators for the Global Positioning System", National Telecommunications conference, Dallas, Texas, December 1976.
  5. ^ U.S. Patent 4,494,021: Bell, Lyon, and Borriello, "Self-calibrated Clock and Timing Signal Generator for MOS/VLSI Circuitry", Jan. 15, 1985.
  6. ^ U.S. Patent 4,513,427: Borriello, Lyon, and Bell, "Data and Clock Recovery System for Data Communication Controller", Apr. 23, 1985.
  7. ^ U.S. Patent 4,796,227: Lyon and Schediwy, "Computer Memory System", Jan. 3, 1989.
  8. ^ Ivan Sutherland, Bob Sproull, and David Harris (1999). Logical Effort: Designing Fast CMOS Circuits. Morgan Kaufmann. ISBN 1-55860-557-6. 
  9. ^ Richard F. Lyon, "A Computational Model of Filtering, Detection, and Compression in the Cochlea", Proceedings IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing, Paris, May 1982.
  10. ^ U.S. Patent 6,078,429: Lyon, "Color Separating Prism Having Violet Light Component in Red Channel", Jun. 20, 2000.
  11. ^ "IEEE Fellows for 2003". 
  12. ^ Mark Peters (6 November 2005). "Royal Photographic Society Award for Foveon sensor". 
  13. ^

External links[edit]