If you’ve ever even heard of object-oriented programming, you owe a debt to Alan Kay. He was one of the fathers of that idea, and he named it. If you’ve ever used a Mac or Windows computer with overlapping “window” graphical user interface, same thing. That was his idea.
Alan Kay could read fluently when he was three, had read over 150 books by the first grade, and was a professional jazz guitarist before jumping into programming and design full-time.
Kay’s influence on and work in computer programming is well-documented and lauded. But, given the burgeoning popularity of tablets, and particularly the iPad, there is one particular design of Kay’s that bears another look.
In 1968, Kay designed something he called the Dynabook. It was a tablet computer that featured:
The Dynabook was conceived as an educational tool, and thus was considered a “children’s computer”.
Take a look at the video below. This is Kay talking about his concept in a 2002 Japanese documentary. The prototype he holds up is made out of cardboard.