Doug Engelbart, the Inventer of the The Mouse, Has Passed Away, aged 88

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Doug Engelbart, i.e. the man who invented the computer Mouse has passed away at the age of 88 due to acute kidney failure at his after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

“There are only a handful of people who were as influential,” said Marc Weber, founder and curator of the internet history programme at the Computer History Museum, where Engelbart had been a fellow since 2005. “He had a complete vision of what computers could become at a very early stage.” 

Engelbart came up with the concept of the mouse in the 1960’s, [patented in the 1970’s], back when computers were controlled through punch-cards. His invention, which was a wooden shell with metal wheels, reinvented how people interacted with computers. It was first sold with the first Apple Macintosh computer in 1984 but the idea did not take off due to how early it came into the evolution of the computer and he, and Apple, did not profit from it. It passed into the public domain in 1987. Because it went in to public domain, he could not claim any royalities on it when it exploded and became how we interacted with computers.

“We will miss his genius, warmth and charm,” said Curtis Carlson, chief executive of SRI International, where Engelbart used to work. “Doug’s legacy is immense. Anyone in the world who uses a mouse or enjoys the productive benefits of a personal computer is indebted to him”

While working at SRI International and his own lab, the Augmentation Research Centre, he came up with the concept of multiple windows [as in on-screen, not the operating system]. His lab also helped create the technology that led to the internet, ARPANet.

While new technology is phasing out the mouse and changing it with touch-screens, he is still a man who helped define what the personal computer was and helped it become as popular as it is now. He is one of the men that helped set everything into place so you are able to read this right now.

Doug Engelbart, inventor and innovator. You will be missed.

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