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Inventor of the computer mouse dies at age 88

usa doug engelbart visionary macintosh mouse patent

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#1 +techbeck

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 19:39

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Douglas Engelbart, best known as the inventor of the computer mouse, has died at age 88. During his lifetime, Engelbart made numerous groundbreaking contributions to the computing industry, paving the way for videoconferencing, hyperlinks, text editing, and other technologies we use daily. The Computer History Museum was first to report the news via Twitter, and Stanford Research Institute has since confirmed Engelbart's passing to The Verge. Perhaps the pioneer's most well-known moment came on December 19th, 1968, when he demonstrated the "mouse" — an unheard of concept at the time — before an audience at Brooks Hall in San Francisco. As we wrote back in March, he went on to demonstrate other technologies taken for granted today:

He showed off WYSIWYG editing with embedded hyperlinks; he combined text with graphics. He speculated about the future of ARPANet, then barely on the horizon of technical possibility, which he believed would soon allow him to demonstrate NLS anywhere in the country. After all, he was already videoconferencing with his colleague behind the scenes in Menlo Park, some 30 miles away.

As it turned out, Engelbart wasn't a fan of his creation being dubbed a "mouse." In a recent profile by The New York Times, his daughter Christina revealed it was actually fellow researchers that came up with the name. "It was just what they called it affectionately," she said. Engelbart referred to it as the "X-Y position indicator for a display system" but unsurprisingly, the simpler monicker proved more popular.

President Bill Clinton honored Douglas Engelbart with the National Medal of Technology and Innovation in 2000 — an esteemed recognition of all that Engelbart accomplished in his lifetime. Specifically, the medal recognizes Engelbart "for creating the foundations of personal computing including continuous, real-time interaction based on cathode-ray tube displays and the mouse, hypertext linking, text editing, on-line journals, shared-screen teleconferencing, and remote collaborative work."

Christina Engelbart confirmed her father's death in a message to professor David Farber's "classic computers" email list. "His health had been deteriorating of late, and took turn for worse on the weekend," she wrote.

 

http://www.theverge....nted-mouse-dies




#2 Hum

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 22:24

SAN FRANCISCO –  Doug Engelbart, a visionary who invented the computer mouse and developed other technology that has transformed the way people work, play and communicate, died late Tuesday. He was 88.

The Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif., where Engelbart had been a fellow since 2005, said Wednesday that it was notified of the death in an email from his daughter and biographer, Christina. SRI International, where Engelbart used to work, also confirmed his death. The cause of his death wasn't announced by either organization. Attempts to contact Engelbart's surviving family weren't immediately successful.

Back in the 1950s and `60s, when mainframes took up entire rooms and were fed data on punch cards, Engelbart already was envisioning a day when computers would empower people to share ideas and solve problems in ways that seemed unfathomable at the time.

He said his work was all about "augmenting human intellect" -- a mission that boiled down to making computers more intuitive to use. One of the biggest advances was the mouse, which he developed in the 1960s and patented in 1970. At the time, it was a wooden shell covering two metal wheels: an "X-Y position indicator for a display system."

Engelbart "brought tremendous value to society," said Curtis R. Carlson, the CEO of SRI International. "We will miss his genius, warmth and charm. Doug's legacy is immense. Anyone in the world who uses a mouse or enjoys the productive benefits of a personal computer is indebted to him."

The notion of operating the inside of a computer with a tool on the outside was way ahead of its time when Engelbart began working on it. The mouse didn't become commercially available until 1984, with the released of Apple's then-revolutionary Macintosh, a precursor to future breakthroughs such as the iPhone and iPad.

Engelbart's conceived the computer mouse so early in the evolution of computers that he and his colleagues didn't profit much from it. The mouse patent had a 17-year life span, allowing the technology to pass into the public domain in 1987. That prevented Engelbart from collecting royalties on the mouse when it was in its widest use. At least 1 billion have been sold since the mid-1980s.

 

In a precursor to the dramatic presentations that Apple founder Steve Jobs became famous for, Engelbart dazzled the industry at a San Francisco computer conference in 1968. Working from his house with a homemade modem, he used his lab's elaborate new online system to illustrate his ideas to the audience, while his staff linked in from the lab. It was the first public demonstration of the mouse and video teleconferencing, and it prompted a standing ovation.

"Doug pioneered network computing technologies when it was not popular to do so," Sun Microsystems' then-CEO, Scott McNealy, said in 1997.

 

In 1997, Engelbart won the most lucrative award for American inventors, the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize. Three years later, President Bill Clinton bestowed Engelbart with the National Medal of Technology "for creating the foundations of personal computing."

In 1990, Engelbart started the Bootstrap Institute, which researches ways to advance collaboration on complex problems.

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#3 Praetor

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 22:38

Saw this video a few ago, truly an visionary. RIP

 

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=JfIgzSoTMOs



#4 lukeslife

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 02:01

Wow. I hope he got at least some form of payment for his work and had a good retirement. What a visionary.



#5 Enron

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 02:08

Umm this is old news? Steve Jobs died a couple of years ago.



#6 mygeotecnik

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 02:11

Sad, he did a good job, specially for a pro-mouse guy like me. Touch only in the tablet.



#7 Praetor

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 02:15

Umm this is old news? Steve Jobs died a couple of years ago.

:laugh:

 

We're talking about Douglas Engelbart, one of the co-creators of the computer mouse and not Jobs that fantasied before Apple humans didn't had computers, Internet or even the wheel. :rofl:



#8 Hum

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 21:19

I'm surprised Neowin didn't take more notice of this ...



#9 +FiB3R

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 21:33

:laugh:

 

We're talking about Douglas Engelbart, one of the co-creators of the computer mouse and not Jobs that fantasied before Apple humans didn't had computers, Internet or even the wheel. :rofl:

 

3591eg.jpg



#10 Top Qat

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 22:18

SQUEAK!

(Terry Pratchett reference).

#11 Praetor

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Posted 05 July 2013 - 11:50

3591eg.jpg

 

Whoosh, of course :woot: