Bill Moggridge

Inventor of the modern laptop dies

Bill Moggridge, a British industrial designer who designed an early portable computer, died at age 69 on 8 September.

He is credited with the design of the Grid Compass, a computer that had a keyboard and yellow-on-black display.

It was used by the US military and made its way into outer space aboard the space shuttle Discovery in 1985.

A graduate of Central St Martins College of Art and Design, he became a sought after industrial designer taking commissions from companies such as Hoover.

In 1979, he relocated to Palo Alto, California where he founded design company ID Two.

An early client was GRiD Systems, for whom he designed the Compass.

It was the first portable computer with a flat screen and a clamshell design.

The machine’s sturdy magnesium case attracted Nasa, which made it a must-have accessory for any discerning astronaut.

The British and US military also appreciated its durability.

The design has influenced laptops from the first consumer devices in the 1990s to the latest ultrabooks.

Since 2010, Moggridge was the director of the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York City.

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