Laptop designer honoured with Duke of Edinburgh prize

The GRID Compass machine The GRID Compass was designed in 1979

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The creator of the world's first laptop has been given a lifetime achievement award by the Duke of Edinburgh.

Bill Moggridge has been named the winner of the 2010 Prince Philip Designers Prize.

He was chosen from a list of famous nominees, including fashion designer Dame Viviene Westwood and the creator of the London 2012 Aquatics Centre.

The jury said Mr Moggridge had been central to how design helped people understand and use technology.

The Grid Compass computer was designed by Mr Moggridge in the early 1980s and is widely credited as the fore-runner for the modern laptop.

The machine went on sale in 1982, with its own operating system, Grid-OS.

It sold for over $,8,000 (£4,900), meaning it was limited to specialist applications, with the US government being one of the main buyers.

It was used on the space shuttle during the 1980s, offering the astronauts a navigational programme when they were out of reach of earth-bound navigation tools.

Mr Moggridge told BBC News he was "astonished" to have been chosen for the award.

"I'm really amazed. The other nominees are such super-heroes of mine and have incredible bodies of work," he said.

As well as designing the Grid Compass computer, Mr Moggridge also co-founded design company IDEO.

He is currently the director of the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.

The Prince Philip Designers Prize is awarded annually to recognise a lifetime contribution to design.

It is Britain's longest-running design award and was set up by the Duke of Edinburgh in 1959 to encourage entrepreneurship.

Past winners have included Sir James Dyson, Terence Conran and Lord Norman Foster.

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