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Laptop inventor Bill Moggridge dies, aged 69

The British designer credited with inventing the laptop has died, following a battle with cancer.

The British designer credited with inventing the laptop has died age 69, following a battle with cancer.

Bill Moggridge designed the Grid Compass (shown below), one of the first gadgets to combine a keyboard with a flip-down screen. The chunky machine was crafted by Moggridge in 1979 and went on sale in April 1982.

With a 320x240 pixel display and 340kb memory, the Compass may not look like much compared to the ultrabooks and tablets of today. It was pioneering tech, however -- a fact that was cemented in gadget history when NASA opted to use the computer in the Space Shuttle during the 80s.

The Compass lacked modern conveniences like a built-in hard drive, but extra tech could be bolted onto the 5kg computer via an I/O port.

Moggridge, who in his early years studied design at St Martin's College of Art and Design in London, designed the breakthrough portable computer for US firm Grid systems.

Moggridge made a big impact on tech, as he championed interaction design, a school of thought which focuses on how humans interact with and use technology.

In 2010 Moggridge was awarded the Prince Philip Designers Prize, and toward the end of his life was Director of the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York.

While some types of gadget prove nothing more than fads, the folding laptop has survived for decades as the standard design for portable computers. Only as recently as the last few weeks have we been given reason to think that the laptop's iconic design is on the way out, having been offered a glimpse at the first touchscreen tablets running Windows 8.

Even those gadgets seem to be flaunting optional keyboard docks however, so it seems the folding PC style isn't finished yet.

Check out the video below for a look back on Bill's illustrious life, and let me know what the first laptop you ever owned was in the comments below, or on our Facebook wall.