Robert B. Ingebretsen

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Robert B. Ingebretsen (30 March 1948 – 2 March 2003) was a pioneer in the development of digital sound.

As a teenager in the 1960s, Ingebretsen built robots and primitive computers that could talk.

As a University of Utah graduate student in the early 1970s, Ingebretsen assisted Dr. Thomas G. Stockham in the development of Stockham's restoration technique for sound and images.[1] This work led to RCA's Caruso-A Legendary Performer that applied Stockham's restoration techniques to acoustic recordings of opera great Enrico Caruso.

Ingebretsen worked with Pixar co-founder Ed Catmull in 1972 to produce one of the first digital films, a 20-second portrait of a human hand.[2]

After graduation in 1975, Ingebretsen joined Stockham at Soundstream Inc., a Utah company where Ingebretsen wrote the software for the first practical digital audio editing system. Soundstream briefly operated an editing studio at a Paramount Pictures studio lot in Los Angeles. Ingebretsen commuted from Utah to Los Angeles, where he supervised the new digital recording for the 1982 re-release of Disney’s Fantasia.

Soundstream dissolved in 1985 and Ingebretsen spent the next 15 years in near anonymity in Salt Lake City, founding a series of small high-tech companies. In 1999 Stockham and Ingebretsen received a Scientific and Engineering Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for their pioneering work in digital audio editing.[3]

Ingebretsen also helped pioneer satellite communications technology. In recent years, he worked for a Centerville-based startup that develops software for hand-held computers.

On 2 March 2003 Ingebretsen died of heart failure at the age of 54 at his Salt Lake City home.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Stockham, T.G., Jr., T.M. Cannon, and R.B. Ingebretsen, Blind deconvolution through Digital Signal Processing, Proceedings of the IEEE, April 1975.
  2. ^ Ingebretsen, Robby, First 3D Rendered Film From 1972 and My Visit to Pixar,
  3. ^ Ingebretsen, Robert B., Thomas G. Stockham, Jr., Random-Access Editing of Digital Audio, Journal of the Audio Engineering Society, Volume 32 Issue 3 pp. 114-122; March 1984.