Who invented the computer mouse?

Douglas Engelbert – Computer mouse invented Douglas Engelbert (1925-2013) in 1964.
Dr. Douglas C. Engelbert invented the first computer mouse in 1964. He was working at Stanford Research Institute in collaboration with his colleague Bill English. The mouse changed how the user accessed a computer from a complex machine that only a computer scientist could run on a user-friendly interface that almost anyone could use. The mouse gets its name because from the back of the cable, it gives the appearance of a mouse because of the long wire attached to the computer.

The first mouse was made of wood, with a circuit board on it, two metal wheels that had contact with its surface, and a button used. It is a handheld ‘pointing’ device that allows the user to control a ‘pointer’ on a computer screen. It was patented on November 17, 1970, and made commercially available in 1973 Interestingly, Engelbert never received any royalties for future ‘mouse’ sales because the patent was actually registered with his employer, SRI – Stanford Research Institute.

Engelbart’s prototype of a computer mouse, as designed by Bill English from Engelbart’s Wikipedia

The mouse did not have its first upgrade in 1972, 8 years later. Bill English designed to create a ‘ball-mouse’. The ball has replaced the wheels and enables the device to glide in any direction easily. The downside to the ball is that it gets dirty frequently and gets stuck in the dust that needs to be cleaned regularly to keep it going smoothly. This bad side led to subsequent development, a further 8 years later in 1980 when the optical mouse was invented. It was eventually patented in 1988 by inventors Lisa Williams and Robert Cherry. This is the key technology still used today.

Among his many other achievements throughout his life, Engelbert ১৯art was awarded the Lemelson-Mitt Award for his invention and innovation in 1997, and was inducted into the National Inventor Hall of Fame in 1997.


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