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What is this?

Black rectangular housing, hinged at top center to open, clamshell-style, revealing a screen and keyboard.

Why is this in our collection?

In 1980, Bill Moggridge and his firm had the opportunity to design a complete computer. The result was the GRiD Compass portable computer, considered to be one of the first laptop computers. The initial brief was to design the exterior case: a minimal, low, rectangular black box, the top horizontally bisected with a hinged section that lifts to reveal the screen and keyboard. Upon taking a prototype home and using it, Moggridge found that the user’s interaction with the object (hardware) and the software was just as important as the design of the physical form. Object and user interaction were both essential design elements that combined to create a complete experience. This prototype for the GRiD Compass... more

This is a laptop computer prototype from United States. It is dated 1981 and we acquired it in 2010. Gift of Bill Moggridge.

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ This object is currently resting in our storage facility.

Its medium is

die-cast magnesium, injection-molded plastic

Its dimensions are

H x W x D: 25.4 x 29.2 x 37.9 cm (10 in. x 11 1/2 in. x 14 15/16 in.)

We have 1 video that features GRiD Compass Laptop Computer Prototype, 1981.

Bill Moggridge on Interaction Design

Bill Moggridge, industrial designer and co-founder of IDEO, talks about the advent of interaction design.

This object was design team member: Glenn Edens and Stephen Hobson and firm: ID Two and manufactured by GRiD Systems Corp. and designed by Bill Moggridge

This object was donated by Bill Moggridge

A timeline of event horizons

This object has been included in the following exhibitions:

See more stuff from the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.

Do you have your own photos of this object? Are they online somewhere, like Flickr or Instagram? Or have you created a 3D model of one of our objects in SketchUp or Thingiverse? If so then then tag them with ch:object=18732295 and we will connect ours to yours!

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18732295/ |title=GRiD Compass Laptop Computer Prototype, 1981 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=30 July 2015 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>

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