The Mouse That Soared

A celebration of Douglas Engelbart's indomitable, ever-evolving pointing device on the 40th anniversary of its public debut.

By  |  Tuesday, December 9, 2008 at 3:42 pm

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Many of today’s mice–such as this Logitech MX Revolution–bear about as much resemblance to Engelbart’s 1968 model as a 2009 Lexus sedan does to a Model T. They sport myriad “ergonomic” designs, scrollwheels of multiple sorts, optical or laser tracking at absurd resolutions, and fancy materials and textures, and they’ve shed their tails in favor of wireless technology. But you know what? In the end, they do exactly what Engelbart’s first mouse did: allow you to move a cursor around the screen and press buttons to initiate actions. Engelbart’s patent ran out before mice became big business, so his invention didn’t make him a zillionaire. All it did was make computing a lot more personal and intuitive–and it shows every sign of continuing to do so for a long time to come.

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