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Inventor Dr. Douglas C. Engelbart

Inventing The Computer Mouse

Dr. Douglas C. Engelbart is an American inventor and early computer pioneer and is best known for inventing the computer mouse.

Engelbart served in the US Navy as a radar technician in the Philippines during World War II. It was there on a small island in a tiny hut that he first read Vannevar Bush's article "As We May Think," which talked about making knowledge more widely available. Ultimately he dedicated his career to doing just this. Back in the academic world he was told to be very careful about whom he talked about his "wild" ideas.

Mouse After settling at the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) in Menlo Park, CA, he and his team developed many computer-interface elements, but none more popular than the computer mouse. He applied for a patent in 1967 and received it in 1970 for the "X-Y position indicator for a display system," which he had developed with his lead engineer, Bill English. He had developed several other experimental pointing-devices exploiting different body movements - for example, head-mounted devices attached to the chin or nose - but ultimately what would later become known as a "mouse" ultimately took the cheese for its simplicity and convenience.

Engelbart initially envisioned that users would hold the mouse continuously in one hand and type on a five-key pad with the other. He nicknamed his invention the "mouse" because of the "tail" that came out of the end. Although he never received any royalties for his invention, he once revealed during an interview, "SRI patented the mouse, but they really had no idea of its value. Some years later I learned that they had licensed it to Apple for something like $40,000."