Bill Moggridge Dies: Early Laptop Designer Passes Away At 69

Bill Moggridge, a British designer credited with creating the very first laptop, died Saturday of cancer. He was 69.

According to BBC News, Moggridge was the man behind 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.

Designed by Moggridge in 1979, the Grid Compass made use of an Intel 8086 processor, a 320×240 pixel display, 340kb of memory, and a blazing 1,200 baud modem.

Initially used by NASA during their their shuttle launches in the early 80s, the laptop retailed for $8,150, according to BBC.

The military Special Forces also purchased the machine as it could be used by paratroopers in combat.

In addition to pioneering the modern laptop, Moggridge authored multiple books including Designing Interactions, which was published in 2006, and Designing Media, published in 2010. Bill was also director of the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York.

In 2010, he was given a lifetime achievement award by the Duke of Edinburgh.

He told BBC News at the time he was “astonished” to receive the prize, which had previously been awarded to Sir James Dyson, Terence Conran, and Lord Norman Foster.

Bill Moggridge grid compass laptop

“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’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, in a statement.

“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.