Inventor of the computer mouse dies

Practically everyone who has used a computer over the past 20 years has used a mouse as a major means of control. The device comes standard with every computer sold nowadays, and it's hard to imagine manipulating windows, playing games, or interacting with a computer in general without one. In fact, unless you're on a mobile device, you probably used a mouse to access this article.

According to SRI, the inventor of the mouse, Douglas Engelbart, sadly has passed away in his home. It's interesting to note that Engelbart wanted to call the device an "x-y position indicator" - and obtained a patent for this device - but another engineer dubbed it a mouse and that's the name that stuck. If it hadn't, we could be referring to the "xypi" instead. Regardless, it's definitely worth your time to watch the series of Youtube videos of his mouse demonstrations and imagine how amazing that feat was some 40 years ago.

In addition to the mouse, Engelbart led many other research areas. He was the engineer who led SRI's Augmentation Research Center (ARC) which became the second node on ARPANET. He also worked on cutting edge technologies such as display editing, multiple windows, context-sensitive help, and more. His contributions in technology have helped shape everything in the world around us, and he will be missed. He is survived by his wife and four children.

Source: SRI | Via CNN.com | Image Courtesy of ComputerHistory.org

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24 Comments

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Amazing to look back at all the things Xerox had in their hands back then and basically gave away. Hindsight is 20/20 though.

It happens with a lot of technologies. Company A develops it, doesn't see a market for it. Company B does see a market for it and thus cheaply obtains the rights for it.

What is causing the buzzing and beeping sounds in that video? I mean, I know it must be the computer, but how, why?

It was for audio feedback, to let you know that you typed something or that the computer was doing something. They were experimenting with all sorts of things like that. In the mid 90s I had a Zenith PC keyboard that would make beeping sounds as you typed. Even today a lot of modern devices use sounds for navigation, same general idea I think.

That's how I pronounced it when I first read it. I'm now going to confuse all of my users by asking them to grab their zippy to do something on the computer.