The Surprising History of the First Computer Mouse

The surprising material of the first computer mouse
The first computer mouse was made of wood.


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You probably use a computer mouse every day, but do you know how it was invented? In this blog post, we will explore the surprising history of the first computer mouse, which was made of wood!

What is a computer mouse?

A computer mouse is a device that allows you to control a cursor on a screen by moving it on a flat surface. You can also click buttons on the mouse to perform actions on the screen, such as opening files, selecting text, or playing games.

The computer mouse is one of the most common and important input devices for computers. It makes using a computer easier and faster than using a keyboard alone.

Who invented the first computer mouse?

The first computer mouse was invented by Douglas Engelbart in 1963. He was an engineer and inventor who worked at the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) in California. He wanted to create a new way of interacting with computers that would be more natural and intuitive than typing commands.

He came up with the idea of a mouse after seeing a device called a planimeter, which was used to measure areas on maps. He thought that a similar device could be used to move a cursor on a screen.

How did he make the first computer mouse?

Engelbart and his team at SRI built the first prototype of a computer mouse using simple materials. They used a wooden block with two metal wheels attached to it. The wheels were connected to potentiometers, which are devices that measure changes in voltage. The potentiometers were connected to wires that sent signals to the computer.

The wooden block had a button on top that could be pressed to select items on the screen. The button was also connected to a wire that sent signals to the computer.

The first computer mouse was nicknamed “the mouse” because of its shape and the tail-like wire that came out of it.

What did he do with the first computer mouse?

Engelbart and his team used the first computer mouse to demonstrate a new system called NLS (oN-Line System). NLS was an advanced system that allowed users to create, edit, and share documents using a graphical user interface (GUI). It also had features such as hypertext links, video conferencing, and collaborative editing.

Engelbart and his team showed NLS and the mouse to the public for the first time in 1968, in an event known as “the mother of all demos”. The demo was a huge success and impressed many people with its vision of the future of computing.

How did the computer mouse evolve?

The first computer mouse was not widely adopted until the 1980s, when Apple Computer introduced the Macintosh, which had a built-in mouse and GUI. The Macintosh popularized the use of the mouse and inspired other companies to create similar products.

Since then, the computer mouse has evolved in many ways. Some of the improvements include:

  • Replacing the metal wheels with a rubber ball or an optical sensor that tracks movement more accurately
  • Adding more buttons or scroll wheels that allow more functions
  • Making the mouse wireless or ergonomic to reduce clutter and increase comfort
  • Adding features such as lights, sounds, or vibrations that enhance feedback or aesthetics

The computer mouse is still one of the most widely used input devices for computers today. It has come a long way from its humble origins as a wooden block with wheels.