Many people own laptops as a result of technology going mobile, but many people don’t know the name of Bill Moggridge, inventor of the modern laptop, who died on September 8 at age 69.
Many, if not all, tech companies have used (and still use) Moggridge’s clamshell design as a basic design for laptops, ranging from lightweight netbooks to powerful ultrabooks. Moggridge’s GRID Compass was invented in 1979, weighed almost 5 kg (approximately 11 lbs), and cost USD$8,000 when it was rolled out on the market in 1982. Since the price was out of the reach for the average consumer, one of the biggest buyers of Moggridge’s GRID Compass was the United States government. It was eventually used on NASA’s Space Shuttle and by the United States military. The laptop even had a 1200 bit/s modem during a time when modems were a separate device from the computer. The laptop had great connectivity for the very first laptop, allowing one to connect multiple hard drives and floppy drives to its General Purpose Information Bus (GPIB) port.
As a result of his contributions to the tech field, Moggridge was named a Royal Designer of Industry by the British Royal Society for the Encouragement of the Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce (RSA) in 1988, won a Lifetime Achievement Award at the National Design Awards in 2009, won the Prince Philip Designer Prize in 2010, and was presented with an honorary doctorate at the California College of the Arts (CCA) in 2012. He also taught several subjects as a consulting associate professor at Stanford University from 1983 to 2010. He is survived by his wife and two children.