Design expert looks at history of computers

7th October 2013

An expert in computer design will explore how computers have evolved through history, and will look at weird and wonderful computer designs, including some that never made it to production.

Professor Paul Atkinson, a product design and design history expert from Sheffield Hallam University's Art and Design Research Centre, will present a potted history of computers at a free, public event at the University next month. His professorial lecture, The Spectacle of Computing, takes place in the University's Cantor Building on 10 October. He will show how the design of computers changed during the late 1970s towards a more lifestyle-focused approached, leading to the modern trend for computer as fashion accessory. Paul said: "We tend to think that computers look like they do because of the technology inside them, but there are a number of other elements that affect design decisions. "People have perceptions of what a laptop should look like, for instance, but does it really need to have a flip-open design and a keyboard? These things have very little to do with the technology inside the machine, and much more about what we believe computers should look like." The lecture will also cover the history of computer 'vapourware' - designs that were approved, and even advertised, but never made it to market - such as 19th century inventor Charles Babbage's designs for a mechanical computer. Paul said: "The classic sci-fi representation of computers in film, television and comics, with flashing lights and loud beeping, has shaped our idea of what a computer should look like. Of course, you could argue that it's the other way round, and that cutting-edge computer designs have influence cultural representations." Professor Paul Atkinson's professorial lecture, The Spectacle of Computing, takes place at 6.30pm on Thursday 10 October in the University's Cantor Building, City Campus. Places are free, but must be booked in advance. Visit www.shu.ac.uk/events to find out more.

You might also be interested in

Webinar Recording: Embracing Diversity & Inclusion in Business

Fri 26th February 2021

A video recording of the first Embracing Diversity & Inclusion in Business webinar that took place on the 24th February 2021.

BCC responds to BEIS Committee report, ‘The impact of Coronavirus on businesses and workers’

Fri 26th February 2021

Commenting on the BEIS Select Committee report, ‘The impact of Coronavirus on businesses and workers: Interim pre-Budget report’, BCC Director General Adam Marshall said:

BCC/moneycorp survey: quarter of exporters to the EU considering holding back activity in the EU

Fri 26th February 2021

Results from the latest British Chambers of Commerce survey, in partnership with moneycorp, found that while 44% of UK exporters to the EU plan to grow their exports to the European Union.

Document Network Services join Sheffield Chamber as a Premium Partner

Tue 23rd February 2021

Document Network Services has joined Sheffield Chamber of Commerce. They aim to work closely with the Chamber and its members to ensure local businesses get a fair deal on their Print, IT Services, Document Management and Communications.