Believe it or not: The First of all Computer Mouse’s looked like this

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First Computer mouse Stanford Research Instutite Douglas Carl Engelbart Bill English Featured Surfolks

Looking the first time without browsing the title, most of you would ascertain the object is a playing wooden box housing a button with a wire to guide its movement. The so-thought wooden box is the ancestor of the computer mouse which is still an integral part of professional and personal workstations.  American engineer, Douglas Carl Engelbart (1925 – 2013) is credited for the pointing device’s invention. By the way, the device acquired the name MOUSE as the wire connected to device reminded of the rodent and the name stuck.

Douglas Carl Engelbart with his invention First Mouse Surfolks

Engelbart’s invention was a portion of his projects at the Stanford Research Institute in realizing better and productive way of interacting with the computer. Previously, Trackballs and joysticks were employed as pointing device in assisting computers.  Engelbart assisted by Bill English (designed the hardware for Engelbart’s idea) designed and developed the first prototype that held two wheels perpendicular to each other to detect the on-screen X and Y coordinates. It was initially reffered to as “x,y position indicator for a display system”.


Mouse Trackball Joystick Parc Alto Xerox Surfolks

The prototype was presented for the first time in 1968 at The Mother of All Demos (Check out the full video), the most influential computing presentations of all time. Despite the revolutionary idea and accolades received, the prototype taken seriously as it was far ahead of its time. Large-scale Utilization and commercialization of mouse happened only after the release of Apple’s Lisa (a personal workstation) in 1984.Prior to its commercialization, the prototypes first found its way to market via Xerox’s Alto workstations.

First Commercial Mouse Apple Lisa 1984 Surfolks Jonathan Zufi

The concept of large scale commercialization of mouse started when the legendary Steve Jobs saw the device at PARC (Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center) in 1979 and envisioned the device’s immense potential. It’s said when Jobs had a quick look at the device and its functioning; he exclaimed “Why aren’t you doing anything with this? This is the greatest thing. This is revolutionary!” What happened aftermath is history to all.

COURTESY: Images – TIME (Cover and First) | DIGITAL TRENDSPARC BLOG (Center) | WSJ (Final)

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