NZ computer design selected for "hall of fame"

A New Zealand invention for the disabled has been invited to join New York's Museum of Modern Art's "hall of fame'' for design.

The Lomak, a laser-driven computer product, has been selected for the museum's internationally important architecture and design permanent collection.

It is believed to be the first New Zealand design to have been invited.

Cathy Veninga, the chief executive of the Design Institute of New Zealand (DINZ), said the achievement was important for the design sector in this country.

The Lomak was invented by Mike Wattling and industrially designed by Peter Haythornthwaite and staff from Auckland design studio creativelab.

Lomak -- which stands for light operated mouse and keyboard -- enables people with mobility problems to operate a computer without the need for special software.

It uses a hand or head pointer to control a beam of light that enters, then confirms, the key or mouse function. 

Developed between 2002 and 2005, the Lomak has won several design awards, including a gold at last year's International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA).

It will be shown alongside works by Charles Eames, Mies Van der Rohe, Etorre Sotssas, Issey Miyake, and Australia's Mark Newson.

"We are now beginning to really appreciate and celebrate New Zealand design and the talent of our designers,'' Ms Veninga said.

"I hope that people throughout New Zealand will be inspired by Peter and his success, and will see that while we are a small country, we can make a big difference when it comes to design."

Lomak is marketed internationally by Opdo Ltd.

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