The Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt national design museum announced that its director, British descending Bill Moggridge, lost the battle with cancer last Saturday, at the age of 69.
A professional industrial designer, Moggridge was the man who designed the Grid Compass in 1982, a computer with a screen that folded on the keyboard. Yes, he is considered by right the father of the laptop.
The first laptop computer he designed was not particularly fortunate. The first unit was of course sold for 8.150 dollars, but was never commercially available, no matter if the other portable computers at that time looked like sawing machines and weighed a lot of kilos. The Grid Compass though, was quickly adopted by the american military, and even got to travel to space, as part of the equipment for the astronauts on the Discovery.
The principle of the flat folding screen is dominant to this day in laptops, ultrabooks and netbooks we use today, 30 years after Moggridge’s design standard. Maybe now is the first time, after so many years, that this principle changes, with the implementation of the detachable screen. In any case, Mr. Bill Moggridge, the father of the laptop, has joined the pantheon of people who gave shape to the things we use today.