Douglas Carl Engelbart, the creator of the computer mouse passed away on Tuesday night, aged 88. Engelbart was a creator who is also credited for introducing video conferencing, word processing, hypertext and collaborative editing, graphical user interfaces to the world.
Engelbart was born on January 30, 1925 in Portland in a relatively poor family. He joined the Oregon State University, but before he could graduate he was shipped to the Pacific to fight for his country. Years later in 1945, he would come across an article by Vannevar Bush, which would attract him to the world of computers and technology.
In 1968, as a scientist at the Stanford Research Institute he gave an hour-long presentation, showing off ideas that were considered as science fiction at that time. It was here that the computer mouse was seen for the first time, when Engelbart showed a cubic device with two rolling discs called an ‘X-Y position indicator for a display system.’ The presentation was so popular that decades later it is still considered to be the ‘mother of all demos.’
In addition to the above mentioned achievements, Engelbart is also credited with developing the first Internet, then known as ARPANET. His team was sent the first message transmitted over the ARPANET network.
Engelbart received many awards for his research, including the National Medal of Technology, which he accepted from President Bill Clinton in 2000. He also received a Computer Pioneer Award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and even had his home state of Oregon declare January 24, 2002 “Douglas C. Engelbart Day.”
Engelbart is survived by his wife, Karen O’Leary Engelbart, four children and nine grandchildren.