Thoughts on the mighty mouse, as inventor dies
Douglas Engelbart, an engineer at Stanford Research Institute (SRI) and the inventor of the computer mouse, died on July 2nd this year; but his contribution to computing, innovation, and efficiency will continue to live on! Looking back, many of you assume that like the internet, it has always been there. We really didn’t know how difficult desktop computing was until the Engelbart showed us how easy it could be!
I can’t imagine any computer interaction without a mouse.Why? I really do not like the touch pad on most lap-top keyboards or the “Think Dot” embedded in the middle of some keyboards. It’s not because I’m adverse to change as much as I have FAT fingers and my fine motor skills (also known as hand-eye coordination) are deficient. There, I said it. Now you know!
But seriously, Engelbart’s invention revolutionized the keyboard-to-human interaction and significantly simplified tasks. No more moving the cursor and hitting the enter key. Actually, I propose a name change from a mouse (Manually Operated Utility for Selecting Equipment) to IWIN (I Want It Now!). Yes, we all won with Engelbart’s invention. In the most basic of terms this device is able to combine our thoughts into computer based action. It simplifies tasks by exploiting the concept of the “I want it now” aspect of our thinking, and can be compared to the most adolescent of requests.
Innovation beyond invention continues; from the one click, to the right and left click, the roller, and the wireless mouse. I use a Bluetooth enabled one when I speak at conferences, workshops and universities. The mouse has not only simplified our interaction with the computer it has extended our physical reach to a virtual dimension.
Of course there is a new dimension that is emerging. It is the neural interface, more on that later, but for now, let’s take a moment to thank Mr. Engelbart and his epic mouse idea. He really did change our world!