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Stefan Kudelski, the inventor of the first professional-quality portable tape recorder, and founder of the Kudelski Group that today specialises in media content security, died last weekend in Switzerland aged 83.
Polish-born Kudelski was an engineering student at a Swiss university in 1951 when he patented his first portable recording device, the Nagra I, a reel-to-reel tape recorder, about the size of a shoe box and weighing 11 pounds, that produced sound as good as that of most studio recorders, which were phone-booth-size. Radio stations in Switzerland were his first customers.
The bigger breakthrough came seven years later, when Kudelski introduced a high-quality tape recorder that could synchronize sound with the frames on a reel of film. The Nagra recorder became an essential tool for the on-location.
Kudelski received Academy Awards for his technical contributions to filmmaking in 1965, 1977, 1978 and 1990, and Emmy Awards in 1984 and 1986.