Reinvigorate your inner nerd at this retro-computing exhibit

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Modern computer interfaces are swiftly being reduced to glossy touchscreen slabs, distancing us from the inner workings of devices we use every day. Kimon Keramidas, director of the Digital Media Lab at the Bard Graduate Center in New York, is offering a refresher on how we got here by "bringing the clunk back." From the pleasing clack of mechanical keyboards to blister-inducing Atari joysticks, he curated a collection of computing history and put it on display at the school's Focus Gallery in an exhibit called "The Interface Experience: Forty Years of Personal Computing."

Gallery: The Interface Experience: Forty Years of Personal Computing | 40 Photos

  • The Interactive Experience: Forty Years of Personal Computers
  • The Interface Experience: Forty Years of Personal Computers
  • The Interface Experience: Forty Years of Personal Computers
  • The Interface Experience: Forty Years of Personal Computers
  • The Interface Experience: Forty Years of Personal Computers
  • Xerox Alto (1973 - 82)
  • Atari 2600 / VCS (1977 - 92)
  • Apple II (1977 - 93)
  • VisiCalc (1979 - 85)
  • Osborne 1 (1981 - 83)
  • Sinclair ZX81 (1981 - 84)
  • Xerox Star 8010 Information System (1981 - 85)
  • IBM Personal Computer (1981 - 87)
  • MS-DOS (1981 - 20010
  • GRiD Compass  (1982 - 86)
  • Commodore 64 (1982 - 94)
  • Minitel (1983 - 2012)
  • RadioShack TRS-80 Model 100 (1983 - 86)
  • Apple Macintosh (1984 - 90)
  • Apple Macintosh (1984 - 90)
  • Nintendo Entertainment System (1985 - 95)
  • Nintendo Game Boy (1989 - 2003)
  • Apple PowerBook 100 Series (1991 - 96)
  • Apple Newton (1994 - 98)
  • Apple Newton (1994 - 98)
  • Sony PlayStation (1994 - 2004)
  • Netscape Navigator (1994 - 2008)
  • Wacom ArtPad (1994 - 97)
  • Windows 95 (1995 - 2001)
  • PalmPilot (1996 - 2001)
  • Apple iMac G3 (1998 - 2003)
  • VeriFone Omni 7000MPD (2003 - 08)
  • HP Compaq TC4200 (2005 - 6)
  • Nintendo Wii (2006 - 14)
  • Amazon Kindle (2007 - present)
  • Apple iPad (2010 present)
  • Apple Magic Trackpad (2010 - present)
  • Microsoft Kinect (2010 - present)
  • Wall of phones
  • The Interface Experience
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With the help of Bard students and the programming expertise of Jonathan Dahan, Keramidas even resurrected a few classics, giving visitors the chance to go hands-on. We'll have more in-depth coverage about the exhibit and how it came into being, but for now we've put together a virtual tour so you can get your retro fix without delay. There's an interactive web app, too, which surfaces some of the hidden connections between the items in the collection. Guests can join the discussion and provide even more context by adding their own stories on the site about how these devices influenced their lives. The Interface Experience exhibit opens today and will run through July 19th.

[Image: Daniel Orren for Engadget]

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