Douglas Engelbart, widely credited as the creator of the first computer mouse, passed away earlier this morning
. He was 88.
All technology builds on that which came before it, and Engelbart's own developments in the field of computer technology in the 1950s and 1960s is no exception to this. He was inspired in 1945 to pursue a career in the emerging field of computer technology after reading Vannevar Bush's landmark essay "As We May Think," concerning the future of information technology. Through his research at UC Berkeley he became involved in ARPAnet, the precursor to the modern internet, and throughout the 1960s his Augmentation Research Center worked on the development of the oN-Line System (NLS).
In 1968, Douglas Engelbart held a "Mother of All Demos" at the Fall Joint Computer Conference in San Francisco, demonstrating the NLS to a large audience for the first time. The oN-Line System incorporated early models for hypertext, remote screen synchronization, windows, video teleconferencing, and, of course, the computer mouse. You can actually watch a recording of the demo on Youtube
Engelbart fell into relative obscurity in the 1970s and 1980s, and in 1988 he and his daughter Christina Engelbart founded the Bootstrap Institute, after the term he coined -- another of his lasting legacies.