15 Jul, 2013

Computer mouse inventor dies

Douglas Engelbart, not a name most people are familiar with, but Douglas Engelbart was the inventor of the computer mouse.

In the 1960's Engelbart developed and patented a wooden shell with two metal wheels, which later became the computer mouse that we recognise today. Unfortunately it never made him rich, because by the time the patent ran out in the 1980's the device still wasn't in mainstream use, and Apple were able to pick up the licence for a paltry sum.

Engelbart was a man way ahead of his time. His interest in computers being used to aid human cognition led him to work on early versions of email, text based links, word processing and video teleconferencing.

His laboratory, the Augmentation Research Center, created to develop and experiment with new tools and techniques for information processing, helped to develop ARPANET, the government research network that spawned the Internet.

Engelbart will always be remembered for his legendary 1968 presentation in San Francisco, still referred to as the "mother of all demos", and where he made the first public demonstration of the computer mouse.