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Bill Moggridge RIP: Inventor of the laptop dies aged 69

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Bill Moggridge, the British designer credited with inventing the laptop computer, has died aged 69 following a long struggle against cancer.

Bill came up with the first clamshell-style portable computer, the Grid Compass, pictured below. Designed in 1979 and hitting shops by April 1982, it paved the way for modern notions of what constitutes a laptop PC, including an integrated screen and keyboard.

The Grid Compass made use of a 320x240 pixel display and 340kb or memory, which sounds primitive by today's standards, but was used even by NASA during their shuttle launches during the 1980s.
grid-compass-1.jpgA key figure in technology design over the decades, Moggridge championed the idea of interconnecting disciplines in the industrial design of gadgetry, calling in the advice of psychologists in order to ensure his designs would appeal directly to humans, and the way we interact with objects.

In 2010 Moggridge was awarded the Prince Philip Designers Prize, and in the final years of his life was Director of the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York.

If you're reading this today on a laptop or notebook screen, spare a thought for the passing of the man who made it possible.

RIP Bill Moggridge, 1943 - 2012.

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  • Network compass to take advantage of them 320x240 pixels and 340kb of memory or, what seems primitive by today's standards, but it was even used by NASA during transport began in the 1980s.

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