Douglas Engelbart, who created the first prototype of the mouse in 1963, died at 88 years of age on Wednesday morning. Englebart famously demoed his new invention in 1968, with a screen showing the movement of the cursor across the screen and his face, ghosted in the background. The demonstration was done in the fall of 1968 at the Joint Computer Conference in San Francisco. In addition to Engelbart’s ground-breaking presentation of his mouse, other innovations like hypertext, screen sharing collaboration, and dynamic file linking were shown at the conference. It would be another 30 years before the mouse became a house-hold staple.
In addition to Engelbart’s fame as an inventor, he was also renowned for his advocacy for utilizing computer development to address social issues. Englebart felt that his purpose was to make the world a better place and, to do that, he would need to be superbly organized and collaborative. He implemented a “bootstrapping strategy” at the Augmentation Research Center at SRI International to accelerate the rate of innovation of his lab. Englebart believed that by utilizing the collective human intellect, research and development could change the world. His book, Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework, describes his research and vision. Engelbart received countless awards, including the National Medal of Technology, the Lovelace Medal, and an honorary doctorate from Yale.
Englebart’s legacy lives on through modern inventors and their creations. To discuss your brilliant ideas with a Phoenix intellectual property law attorney, Steven J. Laureanti, call (480) 426-8397