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Laptop inventor Bill Moggridge passes away

Loses battle with cancer
Mon Sep 10 2012, 10:55

BILL MOGGRIDGE, the man who first thought to combine a keyboard with a screen in one unit has passed away aged 69 after a battle with cancer.

Moggridge was the man behind the Grid Compass, the piece of hardware that was introduced to the world in April 1982.

While it took three years to come to market the Compass revolutionised hardware, and included within its clamshell design an Intel 8086 processor, an electroluminescent display, 340kB of magnetic bubble memory and a 1,200 baud modem.

We take that sort of thing for granted now, but then, thirty years ago, the Grid Compass was up there with the wheel and sliced bread.

Moggridge was director of the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, and that organisation has set up a memorial fund for him.

"All of us at the Smithsonian mourn the loss of a great friend, leader and design mind," said Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough.

"In his two short years as director of Cooper-Hewitt, Bill transformed the museum into the Smithsonian's design lens on the world, and we are forever grateful for his extraordinary leadership and contributions."

The Brit, who is celebrated in a charming video eulogy, was funny and empathetic and brilliant, and one hell of an industrial designer. In 2009 he was given a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Design Awards,

A pioneer of human centred design and a founder of design company Ideo, he was an ideas man who was always open to listening to other people.

His is a legacy, a mind and a way of life that we can all learn from, so today give your laptop a pat on the head, and Bill a moment of thought. µ


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