Designing Interactions

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Jeff Hawkins

Jeff Hawkins is interviewed in Chapter 3 – From the Desk to the Palm. He worked at GRiD with John Ellenby, taking responsibility for the development of GRiDpad and the GRiD Convertible. He started Palm Computing, with Rob Haitani leading his interaction design team, and brought in Dennis Boyle when he wanted an elegant physical design for the Palm V.

Jeff Hawkins has two sides to his life: one is designing mobile computers, and the other is working on brain theory. The side that is focused on the design of mobile computers led him to develop the first tablet PC, the GRiDpad, and then to found Palm Computing. At Palm, he was responsible for a series of products from the PalmPilot up to Palm V. He then went on to found Handspring, continuing with the evolution of designs with the series of Visors, and culminating with the Treo platform. The other half of his persona, dedicated to understanding the science of the human brain, has led him to start Numenta, where he is developing a new type of computer memory system modeled after the human neocortex.

Jeff describes his work at GRiD, and the desire to create a smaller design. He defined four criteria for the design of the first Palm PDA. The size had to fit a typical pocket, the price must be under $300, synchronization should be built in, and the interactions must be fast, with not wait cursors.

Jeff is holding the Treo in his hand, with his book On Intelligence on the table.