Over the past 30 years, designer, writer, and Microsoft researcher Bill Buxton has been collecting input and interactive devices whose design struck him as interesting, useful, or important.
In the process, he has assembled a good collection of the history of pen computing, pointing devices, touch technologies, watches, keyboards, mice, an electronic drum set, a 60-year-old transistor radio whose design inspired the iPod, a Nintendo Power Glove, several Etch-A-Sketches, and even the first so-called “smart” phone – controlled by a touch-screen – first shown in 1993, 14 years before smart phones exploded onto the scene, as well as an illustration of the nature of how new technologies emerge.
Part of the collection was first shown publicly at the Vancouver Art Gallery as part of the Massive Change Exhibition, curated by Bruce Mau, in 2004. Since then the collection has grown significantly, largely through the generous support of Microsoft Research.
This collection was exhibited at CHI 2011, and the exhibit was open to the public. Each device at the exhibit included a Microsoft Tag on its label, which enabled people to scan the tag on their mobile phone and go directly to that device’s detail page on the website to learn more.
If you are not able to visit it in person, do not worry, Bill Buxton’s vast array of tech devices from the past 35 years is available to experience online via an extensive visual database built using Microsoft PowerPivot.
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