Douglas Engelbart, the computing visionary, who invented the first computer mouse and paved the way for the internet and the information age, passed away at 88, as posted on USENET newsgroups.
Born in Portland, Ore. in 1925, Engelbart obtained his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at Oregon State College and completed his graduate studies in the same field at the University of California, Berkeley.
He started at SRI International (previously known as the Stanford Research Institute) in 1957, where his work led to dozens of patents — including one for the device he is most famous for developing.
After applying for a patent to cover the device in 1967, Engelbart first demoed an initial prototype of what we now consider the standard PC mouse peripheral at a computer conference in San Francisco in 1968.
As it turned out, Engelbart wasn’t a fan of his creation being dubbed a “mouse.” In a recent newsgroup post, his daughter Christina revealed it was actually fellow researchers that came up with the name. “It was just what they called it affectionately,” she said. Engelbart referred to it as the “X-Y position indicator for a display system” but unsurprisingly, the simpler monicker proved more popular.
Englebart invented the computer mouse, and contributed to the development of email, word processing, and the Internet. He had been a fellow at the Computer History Museum since 2005; his daughter emailed the museum this week to notify his colleagues of his death.