[Worldkings] Top 100 Pioneers in All Fields (P. 43) Douglas Engelbart (USA): The inventor of the world's first computer mouse


(Worldkings.org) In 1970, American computer pioneer Douglas C. Engelbart patented the world's first computer mouse.

Douglas Carl Engelbart (January 30, 1925 – July 2, 2013) was an American engineer and inventor, and an early computer and Internet pioneer. He is best known for his work on founding the field of human–computer interaction, while at his Augmentation Research Center Lab in SRI International, which resulted in the development of hypertext, networked computers, and precursors to graphical user interfaces, especially the creation of the computer mouse.


In 1963, Engelbart had already established a research lab at SRI, the Augmentation Research Center (ARC), to pursue his objective of developing both hardware and software computer technology to "augment" human intelligence. That November, while attending a conference on computer graphics in Reno, Nevada, Engelbart began to ponder how to adapt the underlying principles of the planimeter to inputting X- and Y-coordinate data. On 14 November 1963, he first recorded his thoughts in his personal notebook about something he initially called a "bug", which in a "3-point" form could have a "drop point and 2 orthogonal wheels". He wrote that the "bug" would be "easier" and "more natural" to use, and unlike a stylus, it would stay still when let go, which meant it would be "much better for coordination with the keyboard".

In 1964, Bill English joined ARC, where he helped Engelbart build the first mouse prototype. They christened the device the mouse as early models had a cord attached to the rear part of the device which looked like a tail, and in turn resembled the common mouse. According to Roger Bates, a hardware designer under English, another reason for choosing this name was because the cursor on the screen was also referred to as "CAT" at this time.

Engelbart applied for a patent in 1967 and received it in 1970, for the wooden shell with two metal wheels (computer mouse – U.S. Patent 3,541,541).


Engelbart's original cursor was displayed as an arrow pointing upward, but was slanted to the left upon its deployment in the XEROX PARC machine to better distinguish between on-screen text and the cursor in the machine's low-resolution interface.  The now-familiar cursor arrow is characterized by a vertical left side and a 45-degree angle on the right.

He never received any royalties for the invention of the mouse. During an interview, he said "SRI patented the mouse, but they really had no idea of its value. Some years later it was learned that they had licensed it to Apple Computer for something like $40,000." Engelbart showcased the chorded keyboard and many more of his and ARC's inventions in 1968 at The Mother of All Demos.

In 1997 he was awarded the Lemelson-MIT Prize of $500,000, the world’s largest single prize for invention and innovation, and the ACM Turing Award. Douglas Engelbart died of kidney failure on 2 July 2013 at the age of 88 in Atherton, California.


According to Wikipedia & scihi.org

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