Bill Buxton--The Man Who Invented Touch Screen Touch

I went out drinking with Bill Buxton in Providence, RI, at the recent BIF5 conference and we talked about how he was building three canoes based on three Canadian Native People’s styles. The Cree canoe was finished and Buxton did it without any power-tools. Now this is important (I’m connecting dots here so bear with me), because last night at the National Design Awards presentation, the winner of the Interaction Design award, Jeff Han from Perceptive Pixel, ran a little movie showing his inspiration for the big touch screen technology we’re seeing on TV and Tom Cruise movies (moving stuff around on a big screen with hands).

The movie showed Buxton, about 20 years ago, sketching out a touch-screen format on a sheet of paper and asking why do we need a mouse to intermediate between us and a computer? Great question. That question inspired Han who went on to develop his interactive technology and debut it at TED in 2006. It showed up later in the movies with Cruise and then CNN for the Presidential election.

In Providence, I went to a talk by Buxton at Brown and he showed me the next iteration of interactive technology being developed by his scientist friend there. Awesome.

Bourbon. He likes bourbon.

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