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Silicon Valley, California; Carver Mead and the Foveon Digital Camera Studio. Mead sits for a portrait with his new camera. Foveon Inc. built a high-end digital still camera that aimed to rival the quality of analog film. The new startup was backed by Carver Mead, the inventor of the gallium-arsenide transistor, the silicon compiler and the artificial retina. Model Released. 1998.