Laptop inventor Bill Moggridge dies

By Danny Palmer
10 Sep 2012 View Comments

Bill Moggridge, the British industrial designer credited with inventing the modern laptop, has died from cancer at the age of 69.

In 1979 Moggridge designed the Grid Compass, the first computer to attach a keyboard to a folding screen. The design went on to become a standard for laptop computers. 

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With an Intel 8086 processor, an electro-luminescent display, 340 kilobytes of magnetic bubble memory and a "fast" 1,200 band modem, it was initially used by the US military and was installed on the Space Shuttle Discovery. The laptop reached the mass market in 1982. 

Moggridge was a celebrated designer winning the Prince Phillip Designers' Prize in 2010, and a Cooper-Hewiit National Design Award for a lifetime achievement in 2009.

He also authored two books - Designing Media and Designing Interactions - and was director of the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York. 

"Beloved by the museum staff and the design community at large, Bill touched the lives of so many through his wise council, boundary-pushing ideas and cheerful camaraderie," said Caroline Baumann, associate director of the Smithsonian museum.

"A true team builder and convener by nature, his efforts at Cooper-Hewitt and throughout the design world will be forever remembered."

Bill Moggridge is survived by his wife of 47 years, Karin, and two sons, Alex and Erik.

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