Father of Mouse: Douglas Engelbart passed

Douglas C. Engelbart, a technologist who ideated the computer mouse and laid out a vision of an Internet decades before others brought those ideas to the mass market, passed away.

It was in 1968 when he first showcased his idea to an audience of 1,000 leading technologists in San Francisco, Engelbart, a computer scientist at the Stanford Research Institute, demonstrated a cubic device with two rolling discs called an “X-Y position indicator for a display system.”

Engelbart also displayed, in real-time, the image and voice of a colleague 30 miles away. That was the first videoconference. And he explained a theory of how pages of information could be tied together using text-based links, an idea that would later form the bedrock of the Web’s architecture.

In 2000, Engelbart was given prestigious accolades including the National Medal of Technology and the Turing Award. At the same time, he grappled with his fade into obscurity even as technology entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates built fortunes off of the personal computer and became celebrity billionaires by realizing some of his early ideas.

Engelbart worked at teaching position at the University of California, Berkeley. He later took a job at SRI and during this period developed the design for a desktop mouse. SRI later licensed the technology for $40,000 to Apple, which released the first commercial mouse with its Lisa computer in 1983.


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