Douglas Engelbart, the man responsible for the invention of the computer mouse, has died at age 88. His original creation was almost nothing like the various touchpads and laser mouse peripherals we use today, but they all stem from his ideas.
Engelbart passed due to Kidney failure, while residing at his own home in Atherton, California on the date of 07/02/2013. He leaves behind his second wife Karen, along with four children from his first marriage and a total of nine grandchildren.
I’m actually curious if any of those youngin’s understand what their grandfather actually did for the world of computing. Do you suppose they know every time they click to play a Facebook game that they can do so because of Grandpa? That is assuming they even use Facebook, of course.
The very first mouse Engelbart created was made out of wood and two metal wheels. The related interior components would register movements along an X and Y axis and then transmit that information for use by a computer. He first showed off the device at a computer conference in San Francisco, California in 1968.
Engelbart and co-creator Bill English were awarded a patent for the “X-Y position indicator for a display system” device in 1970. However, they never actually received any royalties, nor did they make any money from the fact that the mouse is so widely used today. That’s because their former employer SRI International actually owned the patent, which expired in 1987.
Engelbart was also responsible for a number of other contributions to the world of computing, including hypertext, ARPANet and some early models of GUI windows.
Let us all tip our hats to the man who was responsible for one of the most widely used computer peripherals of our age.