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A Q&A With a PARC Pioneer Reflecting on 'the Office of the Future' 40 Years Later


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David Biegelsen, a charter member of Xerox PARC and now a Research Fellow

David Biegelsen, a charter member of Xerox PARC and now a Research Fellow

Credit: PARC

Palo Alto Research Center research fellow David Biegelsen, who has been at Xerox's legendary R&D lab from the beginning, reflected on being at the forefront of the personal computing revolution during PARC's 40th anniversary celebration.

Xerox established its Palo Alto Research Center (better known as Xerox PARC) in June 1970 as a West Coast extension of its research and development laboratories. PARC researchers proved wildly successful in pioneering many contemporary business technologies—the PC (the first was called the "Alto"), graphical user interface, Ethernet local area computer network and laser printing, to name just a few. Xerox, however, was considerably less successful (and less interested) in commercializing much of PARC's technology itself, leaving the door open for Apple, IBM, Microsoft and others to capitalize on PARC's innovations.

PARC may have missed out on becoming a household name, but few could deny that the organization has demonstrated an uncanny ability envision technology way ahead of its time. Researchers there continue to work in dozens of areas, including water treatment, renewable energy generation, organic and printed electronics, and artificial intelligence.

From Scientific American
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