Adonis Diaries

Bill Moggridge? Never met personally. I’m used to laptop though…

Posted on: September 16, 2012

Bill Moggridge, Inventor of the First Laptop, Has Died

Moggridge is famous for designing the Grid Compass computer in 1982. In particular, he was responsible for pushing for a computer design which included a flat-panel screen that folded down onto the device’s own keyboard, along with compact circuitry to keep it portable.

The clamshell design, matte black finish and tight angles, and clunky are still enough to get us “all hot and bothered“. Its impact was celebrated in 2010 when it won the Prince Philip Designers Prize—the oldest design award in the UK.

The device wasn’t just critically acclaimed, though. Despite its lack of integrated hard disk or floppy drive, the magnesium-cased computer was quickly adopted by NASA and the US military. It even made its way into space aboard Space Shuttle Discovery in 1985.

Thirty years later, and laptop computers still use the same basic clamshell design originally proposed by Moggridge. That alone is testimony of his design genius—and a life worth celebrating.

Image by Mayo Nissen under Creative Commons license

Bill was on a war path: He wanted design to be taught early on in school

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September 2012

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