35 Years in 60 Seconds: Evolution of Modern Computer Desks

evolution of the computer

Almost everything we once kept at our desks is now packed into our personal computers, but rarely is this phenomena so brilliantly illustrated as in the beautiful video below.

This decades-long transition from the tangible to the digital is shown by the Harvard Innovation Lab as a migration of individual physical items into their corresponding virtual equivalents, desktop icons replacing their counterparts one by one, “demonstrating the steep shift from cork boards and fax machines to pinterest and PDFs.”


Lest you think it is all misdirection or illusion, “the scene is set with actual vintage items sourced by the team of photographers and entrepreneurs: the Macintosh classic, corded phone, fax machine, globe, corkboard, Polaroid camera, and Rolodex were all purchased through individual sellers on ebay, while the rest of the items were found abandoned an unused in basements and at garage sales. While some argue that technology has made our lives more complex, the video below demonstrates the current clarity from clutter, and the ways in which technology encourages productive and social behavior.”

evolution computer desk

Whether the conclusions match the experiment is subjective (some of us might miss our stuff), but what prompted this ambitious exploration of technological revolutions? The project creators “wondered what it would be like to recreate the desktop from the 1980s and then emulate its transformation through the computer age, to illustrate how technology has changed our world, un-cluttering our desks and simplifying our lives. While gradual change from year to year is often hard to perceive, a longer snapshot gives us a much more dramatic view of the technological progression we have experienced.” The video was produced by Momchil Filev of BestReviews.com with photography by DougThomsen.tv and engineering by Anton Georgiev.