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Dec 10 2008   11:43AM GMT

Happy 40th birthday, computer mouse!

GuyPardon Guy Pardon Profile: GuyPardon

first mouseToday the computer mouse celebrates its 40th anniversary.

Pictured is version 1.0, held held by inventor Douglas Engelbart.

[Image credit: CERN Courier]

Modern mice have come a long way since this wooden prototype but the essential function — transferring physical motion to moving a cursor on the screen — remains the same.


Some great factoids about the computer mouse, via Wikipedia:

  • The name ‘mouse’ originated at originated at the Stanford Research Institute, where researchers noted its similarity of the cord to a certain rodent’s tail
  • Bill English, builder of Engelbart’s original mouse, invented the so-called ball mouse in 1972 while working for Xerox PARC.
  • The first mouse shipped as a part of a computer came with the Xerox 8010 Star Information System in 1981
  • Inclusion with Apple’s Macintosh is where the mouse really took off

The BBC has posted videos of Englebart explaining how the mouse got its name and the first demonstration of the mouse in a fascinating story that includes extensive quotes from the inventor.  (Sorry, no embeds available for BBC video content.)

Gearlog also has a great guided tour of 40 Years of The Mouse, if you’d like to take look back at the evolution of modern computing’s most ubiquitous peripheral.

Just move that cursor over and click on the hyperlink above — and thank Engelbart for his vision.

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