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Douglas Engelbart, who pioneered the invention of the computer mouse, died Tuesday at his home in Atherton, Calif., ABC News reports. He was 88.
Engelbart came up with the concept for the mouse while working at the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) in the late 1950s, and 20 years later, he earned a patent for his contraption — a wooden shell with a pair of metal wheels. The device, created with Engelbart’s primary engineer, Bill English, was referred to as an “X-Y Position Indicator for a Display System,” but the term “mouse” was coined in their lab.
The mouse was not widely used until the early ’80s, when it was distributed along with personal computers including the Macintosh 128K.
“I have admired him so much,” Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak told ABC News in an interview. “Everything we have in computers can be traced to his thinking. To me, he is a god. He gets recognized for the mouse, but he really did an awful lot of incredible stuff for computer interfaces and networking.”
During the course of his career, Engelbart, who worked as a radar technician during World War II, aimed to implement the power of computers for the greater good. His other achievements included pioneering the introduction of on-screen video conferencing as well as collaborative software; he was also involved with ARPANET, a computer network that predated the global internet.
“The networking ideas were even more significant than the mouse,” Wozniak said. “He did this way before the Internet. He was thinking about how computers could solve some of the main problems for mankind before many.”
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