- It was only meant to be a prototype. But 40 years after the computer mouse first scrolled its way into the public consciousness, new touch-screen technology could be about to consign the mouse to the annals of history.
The computer mouse was the creation of Doug Engelbart
and his team at the Stanford Research Institute in California, who needed a simple way of controlling their computers. The result was a carved wooden block mounted on wheels, with a long cable trailing out the back. One researcher nicknamed it a mouse, and the moniker stuck.
"We thought that when it had escaped out to the world it would have a more dignified name," said Mr Engelbart. "But it didn't."
The mouse made its debut at a presentation in San Francisco in 1968 to show off a working network computer system. Before the invention of the mouse, people working on computers used a light pen, similar to those wielded by radar operators during the war, to navigate around on screen. The research team at the Institute set about finding an alternative, and went through a range of designs before finally settling on the mouse.
"We set up our experiments and the mouse won in every category, even though it had never been used before," said Mr Engelbart. "It was faster, and with it people made fewer mistakes....