Anybody reading this post on their computer and scrolling through nonchalantly to see how long it is before they commit to reading the whole thing, may well be doing so with a mouse. So, let’s just take a moment to wish the humble little desktop accessory ‘happy birthday’.
Yes, it’s 45 years ago today that US engineer Douglas Engelbart, who sadly departed this world earlier this year (2 July 2013), unveiled the device, which he had spent the previous four to five years developing. The mouse made its theatrical debut, as it were, in a 90-minute demonstration at the Fall Joint Computer Conference on 9 December 1968. Tuaw.com notes that Engelbart’s presentation has seen its reputation grow in stature over the last four decades, to such an extent that it is routinely referred to as the ‘mother of all demos’. It even has its own Wikipedia page.
The original device was a large, clunky wood and metal affair, that of course has long since evolved into the sleek and ergonomic little beauties we use today.
The patent, which Engelbart applied for the year before the Fall Conference, originally referred to an ‘x-y position indicator’, which, to be honest, isn’t quite as catchy or cute as plain old simple ‘mouse’.