Bill Buxton at Studio 888

I finally met Bill Buxton in person yesterday. He’s an innovator, teacher, inventor, historian with a long list of credentials, awards and Silicon Valley connections. “I know all those guys,” he says … and they know him. Bill Gates hired him as Principal Researcher for Microsoft.

Buxton’s boyish enthusiasm is contagious.

“I had more intellectual freedom at Microsoft than I ever had in academia,” he said. Smack! I was speaking to a fervent believer in the free exchange of ideas. He is also a charismatic advocate for human-friendly design. We need more of that!

Neighbour Rob (foreground) first told me about Bill Buxton over a year ago. Rob met him when they both worked for Microsoft.

Buxton has been an international figure since the early days of the digital revolution and continues to be a sought-after speaker because his insights, especially into human-computer interaction, remain highly relevant today.

He’s 70 now … and he lives in the Beach, married to artist Liz Russ. Liz operates Studio 888 on Queen Street, where Buxton welcomed visitors to his current display of wearable tech wizardry and 3D/VR history.

The Amazing Gadget 2.0 show is a well organized presentation of devices dating from the 1800s through to the present. Bill Buxton has collected them, restored some from parts and displayed them under short, information-packed poster panels. “That’s a lot of work,” I said. “Tell me about it,” said he. The collection will go to the Smithsonian, eventually.

You can visit the display until April 22nd.

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