- Neil Gershenfeld
Originally published by Henry Holt and Company 1999. Published on KurzweilAI.net May 15, 2003.
I vividly recall a particular car trip from my childhood because it was when I invented the laptop computer. I had seen early teletype terminals; on this trip I accidentally opened a book turned on its side and realized that there was room on the lower page for a small typewriter keyboard, and on the upper page for a small display screen. I didn’t have a clue how to make such a thing, or what I would do with it, but I knew that I had to have one. I had earlier invented a new technique for untying shoes, by pulling on the ends of the laces; I was puzzled and suspicious when my parents claimed prior knowledge of my idea. It would take me many more years to discover that Alan Kay had anticipated my design for the laptop and at that time was really inventing the portable personal computer at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC).