The Father of the Mouse, Douglas Engelbart sadly passed away on 2 July 2013 due to kindey failure. Born on 30 January 1925, Englebart pioneered a number of early computer technologies, mostly in connection with human-computer interaction. He was also known for holding The Mother of All Demos on 9 September 1968 in San Francisco. He was 88 years old.
“I first started making notes for the mouse in ’61. At the time, the popular device for pointing on the screen was a light pen, which had come out of the radar program during the war. It was the standard way to navigate, but I didn’t think it was quite right…We set up our experiments and the mouse won in every category, even though it had never been used before. It was faster, and with it people made fewer mistakes. Five or six of us were involved in these tests, but no one can remember who started calling it a mouse. I’m surprised the name stuck.”
Here’s a video of Doug talking abou this invention.
He was honored with many awards, a few of which are:
- The Lemelson-MIT Prize ($500.000, the world’s largest cash prize for invention)
- The National Medal of Technology and Innovation in 2000 (the highest honor the United States can confer to a US citizen for achievements related to technological progress)
- The British Computer Society’s Lovelace Medal in 2001
- …and many more
The assumption that touchscreens might take over keyboards and mice, might be true, but the world will never forget him.
May he rest in peace. We can be thankful for him. I am.
Imagine a world where we don’t have such pointing device like the mouse. How would you describe it? How could you live and work in it? What if we had to put together designs only with the use of the keyboard? If Engelbart hadn’t invented the mouse, would there have been any similar invention that might have become such popular? Share your thoughts with us!