Doug Engelbart, an American inventor best known for creating the early computer mouse, passed away last night due to kidney failure. He was 88 years old.
Engelbart pioneered many early Silicon Valley technologies, mostly surrounding human-computer interaction, including the creation of hypertext and work on graphical interfaces.
In his own words in a 2004 Wired profile, Engelbart describes the early development of the mouse:
I first started making notes for the mouse in ’61. At the time, the popular device for pointing on the screen was a light pen, which had come out of the radar program during the war. It was the standard way to navigate, but I didn’t think it was quite right…We set up our experiments and the mouse won in every category, even though it had never been used before. It was faster, and with it people made fewer mistakes. Five or six of us were involved in these tests, but no one can remember who started calling it a mouse. I’m surprised the name stuck.
Engelbart is survived by four children, nine grandchildren, and his second wife, whom he wed in 2008. Engelbart’s first wife died in 1997 after 47 years of marriage.
One of my favorite memories is visiting Engelbart’s home in 2006 and using his old mouse and chord keyboard. RIP Doug pic.twitter.com/bTRMxa1MMP
— Joe Hewitt (@joehewitt) July 3, 2013
Below, you can see part of the December 9, 1968, presentation that Engelbart and 17 researchers gave at the Stanford Research Institute in Menlo Park; among other things, Engelbart and the researchers displayed the mouse for the first time in the presentation.
Photo via Wikipedia.