Computer Mouse Turns 64 on 9 December

The computer mouse was first demonstrated by Douglas Engelbart, chief engineer at the Stanford Research Institute, in San Francisco at the Fall Joint Computer Conference on 9 December 1968. Back then, the mouse, which got its name because of the resemblance of a cord to a mouse tail, was far from ergonomic: the invention looked like a mahogany wooden cube with one button, a cord and perpendicularly placed wheels. NASA, the space agency that had commissioned the invention, was not happy with the result: the mouse could not be used in zero-gravity conditions. The computer society, however, was enthusiastic. 

Douglas Engelbart filed a USPTO application in 1967 and Patent No. 3,541,541 was issued on November 17, 1970. The official name of the device was "X-Y Position Indicator for a Display System". Licences to use the technology were granted to Apple, Xerox and other companies. 

Gradually the mouse was further developed, with more and more patents for improved models filed almost every year. As technologies evolved, the shape of the mouse changed and its price, which initially amounted to about $1,000, decreased rapidly. However, what has remained almost unchanged so far is the slant arrow of the mouse pointer on the monitor screen, which is a tribute to tradition because the first computers had a very low screen resolution. 

These days, "tailless" (wireless) mice are mostly used. By the way, such mice can also be found in the wild