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Fascinating facts about the invention of the
Computer Mouse by Douglas Engelbart in 1968.
COMPUTER MOUSE
Years before personal computers and desktop information processing became commonplace or even practicable, Douglas Engelbart had invented a number of interactive, user-friendly information access systems that we take for granted today: the computer mouse was one of his inventions. At the Fall Joint Computer Conference in San Francisco in 1968, Engelbart astonished his colleagues by demonstrating the aforementioned systems---using an utterly primitive 192 kilobyte mainframe computer located 25 miles away! Engelbart has earned nearly two dozen patents, the most memorable being perhaps for his "X-Y Position Indicator for a Display System": the prototype of the computer "mouse" whose convenience has revolutionized personal computing.
Mouse (computer), a common pointing device, popularized by its inclusion as standard equipment with the Apple Macintosh. With the rise in popularity of graphical user interfaces in MS-DOS; UNIX, and OS/2, use of mice is growing throughout the personal computer and workstation worlds. The basic features of a mouse are a casing with a flat bottom, designed to be gripped by one hand; one or more buttons on the top; a multidirectional detection device (usually a ball) on the bottom; and a cable connecting the mouse to the computer. By moving the mouse on a surface (such as a desk), the user typically controls an on-screen cursor. A mouse is a relative pointing device because there are no defined limits to the mouse's movement and because its placement on a surface does not map directly to a specific screen location. To select items or choose commands on the screen, the user presses one of the mouse's buttons, producing a "mouse click."

Mouse Patent # 3,541,541 issued 11/17/70 for X-Y Position Indicator For A Display System
Douglas Engelbart's patent for the mouse is only a representation of his pioneering work in the design of modern interactive computer environments.

TO LEARN MORE

RELATED INfFORMATION:
Douglas Engelbart, Inventor Profile   from The Great Idea Finder
History of Computing    from The Great Idea Finder

ON THE BOOKSHELF:
Bootstrapping: Douglas Engelbart, Coevolution, and the Origins of Personal Computing
by Thierry Bardini / Paperback: 284 pages / Stanford Univ Press (December 2000)
When Douglas Engelbart first demonstrated small-w windows and a funny wooden device called a mouse back in 1968, interest jumped quickly and he became the progenitor of the PC.

From Memex to Hypertext : Vannevar Bush and the Mind's Machine
by James M. Nyce (Editor), Paul Kahn, Vannevar Bush / Hardcover - 367 pages / Academic Pr -1992
Memex, a computer that was never built, was described in 1945 by pioneer computer engineer Bush, and foreshadowed the principles and operations of today's personal computers. Vannevar Bush's article "As We May Think" inspired the thinking of Mr. Engelbart and many others.
Endless Frontier : Vannevar Bush, Engineer of the American Century
by G. Pascal Zachary / Paperback - 518 pages / MIT Press - 1999
Profiling Vannevar Bush, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology engineer who, as head of the Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD), oversaw all wartime military research. He mobilized the nation's scientific and technological talent by funding private research with public.

ON THE WEB:
National Inventors Hall of Fame
Douglas Engelbart Inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1998.
(URL: www.invent.org/hall_of_fame/53.html)
Invention Dimension - Inventor of the Week
Douglas Engelbart featured January, 1997 for his invention of the computer mouse.
(URL: web.mit.edu/invent/iow/engelbart.html)
MouseSite
A resource for exploring the history of human computer interaction beginning with the pioneering work of Douglas Engelbart and his colleagues at Stanford Research Institute in the 1960s.
(URL: sloan.stanford.edu/MouseSite)

Interview with Douglas Engelbart
Transcript of a video history interview with Mr. Doug Engelbart, winner of the Computerworld Smithsonian Award in 1994. Presented by the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
(URL: americanhistory.si.edu/csr/comphist/englebar.htm)
Bootstrap Institute
Find out what Mr. Engelbart is inventing today at the institute he founded.
(URL: www2.bootstrap.org)


 

Reference Sources in BOLD Type This page revised February, 2005.
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