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Inventor of the Mouse Doug Engelbart Passes Away at Age 88

By - Source: The New York Times | B 19 comments

The father of the computer mouse passes away at 88.

The Computer History Museum reports that U.S. inventor Doug Engelbart died Wednesday morning at the age of 88. The Mountain View, Calif.-based museum, where Engelbart resided since 2005, received the notification of his death in an email from his daughter Christina Engelbart, Director of the Doug Engelbart Institute. She did not specify a cause of death, but Engelbart's wife later told the New York Times that he passed away in his home in Atherton, Calif. due to kidney failure.

Engelbart was best known as the inventor of the computer mouse. He developed the device back in 1963 in his Augmentation Research Center Lab at Stanford Research Institute (SRI) International, and was awarded a patent in 1970. Back then it was merely a wooden shell covering two wheels, but it did the trick: it allowed users to operate the inside of a computer with a tool on the outside. The mouse didn't become commercially available until 1984 when it was added to Apple's new Macintosh.

"The basic idea for the mouse first came to him in 1961 while sitting in a conference session on computer graphics, his mind mulling over the challenge of making interactive computing more efficient," reads his Collective IQ blog which is maintained by his daughter. "It occurred to him that, using a pair of small wheels traversing a tabletop, one wheel turning horizontally, one turning vertically, the computer could track their combined rotations and move the cursor on the display accordingly."

Collective IQ is also the name of an idea he described as "a measure of how effective people are at addressing complex, urgent challenges collectively."

While working at SRI, Engelbart also played a part in the development of ARPANET, the first network to implement TCP/IP that helped set the framework for the Internet. He was a part of a group recruited by Bob Taylor after $18 million (aka $100 million today) was budgeted for the project's deployment across four Interface Message Processors, or IMPs. He also created the NLS system, a very important early hypertext system, and created precursors to graphical user interfaces.

On Wednesday the museum said that Engelbart had a lifelong commitment to "solving humanity's urgent problems by using computers as tools to improve communication and collaboration between people."

The New York Times has a huge write-up detailing Engelbart's achievements throughout the decades, which can be read here.

Display 19 Comments.
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  • 22 Hide
    brandonjclark , July 4, 2013 4:06 PM
    From all PC Gamers out there, THANK YOU.
  • 13 Hide
    house70 , July 4, 2013 2:01 PM
    Thank you, sir. RIP
Other Comments
  • 8 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , July 4, 2013 1:37 PM
    RIP
  • 13 Hide
    house70 , July 4, 2013 2:01 PM
    Thank you, sir. RIP
  • 5 Hide
    edogawa , July 4, 2013 2:07 PM
    Sad to see people like this die, if there is an after-life, I hope he rests in peace. Great men like this come few in numbers.

    Shame people like this won't get much attention for their achievements that actually have been beneficial compared to some "un-named scum bag" who gets huge media attention .
  • 0 Hide
    ralanahm , July 4, 2013 2:08 PM
    thank you for the fore site on hardware interface.
  • 22 Hide
    brandonjclark , July 4, 2013 4:06 PM
    From all PC Gamers out there, THANK YOU.
  • -3 Hide
    apache_lives , July 4, 2013 4:26 PM
    I remember when no one liked the mouse, now people are complaining about Windows 8 and touch screens

    Look where you complainers will be in years to come :) 
  • 7 Hide
    eklipz330 , July 4, 2013 4:34 PM
    Quote:
    I remember when no one liked the mouse, now people are complaining about Windows 8 and touch screens

    Look where you complainers will be in years to come :) 

    i have nothing against touch screens. however, touch input has ways to go before latency is down to as fast as a mouse. and nothing yet is as precise as a mouse. well maybe a pen and paper, but you get my point
  • 3 Hide
    warmon6 , July 4, 2013 4:46 PM
    R.I.P. Doug

    You'll always be remember as along as the best tool to interact with the computer lives.
  • 2 Hide
    jhansonxi , July 4, 2013 6:12 PM
    RIP (from my aching arms due to 20 years of mouse pushing)
  • 5 Hide
    CaedenV , July 4, 2013 7:20 PM
    RIP Doug

    I got to see him speak once. One of those moments you will never forget.
  • 2 Hide
    nexians , July 4, 2013 9:40 PM
    RIP
  • 2 Hide
    jinayhvora , July 5, 2013 12:26 AM
    RIP
  • -4 Hide
    apache_lives , July 5, 2013 12:59 AM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    I remember when no one liked the mouse, now people are complaining about Windows 8 and touch screens

    Look where you complainers will be in years to come :) 

    i have nothing against touch screens. however, touch input has ways to go before latency is down to as fast as a mouse. and nothing yet is as precise as a mouse. well maybe a pen and paper, but you get my point


    Dont get me wrong the mouse is the ideal input device just all the Windows 8 haters (not so much here but on other posts) sooner or later will see the light.
  • 2 Hide
    ojas , July 5, 2013 4:10 AM
    R.I.P. sir, we owe you!
  • 0 Hide
    thee_prisoner , July 5, 2013 7:47 AM
    I'm surprised it took that long since the trackball was invented in 1952 and a mouse is just an upside down trackball.
  • 1 Hide
    bobbybamf12 , July 5, 2013 11:46 AM
    You made my life so much easier, thank you! R.I.P
  • 1 Hide
    mynith , July 5, 2013 11:54 AM
    Rip in peace, friend. Few inventions have changed people's lives as thoroughly as the mouse. This is right up there with the computer itself, electricity and the wheel.
  • 1 Hide
    Avus , July 5, 2013 1:27 PM
    All my FPS would thanks for your invention....
  • 1 Hide
    Mike Stewart , July 5, 2013 2:39 PM
    Thank You Doug