Douglas C. Engelbart, inventor of the computer mouse, dead at 88

“Douglas C. Engelbart, a visionary scientist whose singular epiphany in 1950 about technology’s potential to expand human intelligence led to a host of inventions — among them the computer mouse — that became the basis for both the Internet and the modern personal computer, died on Tuesday at his home in Atherton, Calif.,” John Markoff reports for The New York Times. “He was 88.”

“The cause was kidney failure, his wife, Karen O’Leary Engelbart, said,” Markoff reports. “Dr. Engelbart’s insight came just two days after he was engaged to be married in December 1950. He had a good job working at a government aerospace laboratory in California, and he was pondering what he might do of value with the rest of his life.”

Markoff reports, “Then it came to him. In a single stroke he had what might be called a complete vision of the information age. He saw himself sitting in front of a large computer screen full of different symbols, a vision most likely derived from his work on radar consoles while in the Navy after World War II. The screen, he thought, would serve as a display for a workstation that would organize all the information and communications for a given project. A decade later, during the Vietnam War, he established an experimental research group at Stanford Research International (later renamed SRI International) with financing from the Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Air Force, and NASA.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: R.I.P., pioneer!

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “iDjon” for the heads up.]


  1. ” The Macintosh uses an experimental pointing device called a ‘mouse’. There is no evidence that people want to use these things.” — San Francisco Examiner, John C. Dvorak, 19 Feb. 1984

  2. Watch the video of this man’s computer system demo from December 1968, it’s available on YouTube. Absolutely amazing stuff considering it was at least 10 years ahead of it’s time! RIP to a true pioneer and genius.

  3. Thank you for the mouse, on my Apple //e, NEC APC IV, and everything else I have owned. Although in the DOS world we had no need for a mouse, by golly we sure made it work.

  4. To credit Douglas Engelbart only for the invention of the mouse would be a disservice to his legacy. Read up on his life and career to learn the many inventions for which he either invented, collaborated or helped facilitate. The Internet, the Web and much of what we take for granted in computing might not be where it is today without his gentle genius.

    He was truly a class act. We should all be thankful for his legacy. Thanks, Mr. Engelbart.

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