Monday, August 17, 2009

The Dynabook Device

This device mock-up is widely considered to be the inspiration for the modern portable computer. Conceived by Alan Kay in 1968 at Xerox PARC, the device was envisioned as “a personal computer for children of all ages."

Kay wanted to create a thin, portable device that weighed about 2 pounds and had a display whose size approximated that of a real page (Kay figured he would need a screen with 1 million pixels to accomplish this). Unfortunately, the technology required to produce such a device didn't emerge until fairly recently -- and even today the Dynabook as envisioned by Kay has not become a reality.

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