Over the past 30 years, designer, writer, and researcher Bill Buxton has been collecting input and interactive devices whose design struck him as interesting, useful, or important. In the process, he has assembled a good collection of the history of pen computing, pointing devices, touch technologies, as well as an illustration of the nature of how new technologies emerge.

Part of the collection was first shown publicly at the Vancouver Art Gallery as part of the Massive Change Exhibition, curated by Bruce Mau, in 2004. Since then the collection has grown significantly, largely through the generous support of Microsoft Research.

This collection was exhibited at CHI 2011, and the exhibit was open to the public. Each device at the exhibit included a Microsoft Tag on its label, which enabled people to scan the tag on their mobile phone and go directly to that device’s detail page on this website to learn more.


About Bill Buxton

Bill Buxton is the author of Sketching User Experiences: Getting the Design Right and the Right Design. A Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research, he has a 30-year involvement in research, design, and commentary around human aspects of technology. He was a researcher at Xerox PARC, and Chief Scientist of Alias Research and SGI Inc. He has been awarded three honorary doctorates, is co-recipient of an Academy Award for Scientific and Technical Achievement, received an ACM/SIGCHI Lifetime Achievement Award, and is a Fellow of the ACM. He is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Toronto and Distinguished Professor of Industrial Design at the Technical University Eindhoven.

Bill Buxton is a relentless advocate for innovation, design, and especially the appropriate consideration of human values, capacity, and culture in the conception, implementation, and use of new products and technologies. This is reflected in his research, teaching, talks, and writing, which includes his column on design and innovation for BusinessWeek.com.


Using Microsoft Technology for the Exhibit and Website

In addition to the mobile-friendly, Tag-enabled HTML browse experience, this website offers an interactive experience that uses Silverlight PivotViewer. Read on to learn more about these two innovative technologies: Silverlight PivotViewer and Microsoft Tag.

About Silverlight PivotViewer

Microsoft Pivot, originally released by Microsoft Live Labs in October 2009, is an application for exploring large data sets with smooth visual interactions. The Silverlight PivotViewer makes it easier to interact with massive amounts of Pivot data on the web in ways that are powerful, informative, and fun. By visualizing thousands of related items at once, you can see trends and patterns that would be hidden when looking at one item at a time.

Because PivotViewer takes advantage of Deep Zoom, it displays full, high-resolution content without long load times, while the animations and natural transitions provide context and prevent you from feeling overwhelmed by large quantities of information. This simple, inviting interaction model encourages exploration and longer audience engagement times, and applies broadly to a variety of content types.

About Microsoft Tag

Microsoft Tag, which started out as High Capacity Color Barcode technology and was developed in Microsoft Research, is a new kind of bar code that connects almost anything in the real world to information, entertainment, and interactive experiences on your mobile phone. Tags are free to create and use. You can add them to your ads, posters, product packages, display it on your website, billboards, clothing—the list is endless. When you scan a Tag by using the free Tag Reader app on your mobile phone, it will automatically open a webpage, add a contact to your address book, display a message, or dial a number—there are no long URLs to type or SMS messages to send.

Anyone can create Tags for free. And unlike other kinds of bar codes, Tags are fully customizable. You can create your Tags in black and white or colorful Tags that visually represent your business or personal brand in a spectacular manner.

In the News
About CHI 2011
More About Bill Buxton
About PivotViewer
About Microsoft Tag