Thank You Doug Engelbart

9 Jul 2013

It is fascinating how the technological discoveries from the last few centuries have built such strong fundamental building blocks for the technology of today.

The inventor of the computer mouse, Doug Engelbart, passed away last week, aged 88, after a long life developing computers to help ‘augment human intellect’*. It could be argued that he has given the modern world, one of the most effective inventions of the 20th century. Alongside the invention of the phone, the automobile and of course the internet. This was a huge step in helping the average person be able to approach and interact with a computer, bridging that gap of fear that many people had at the time for this new technology.

Engelbart was also well recognised for what is known as the ‘Mother of all Demos‘, a legendary presentation held in San Francisco, in 1968. It was the first public demonstration of the mouse, but he also held the first video teleconference and explained his theory of text-based links, which is basically the platform to the architecture of the internet as we know it.

The existence of the mouse and of buttons/links to click, seems so simple now we have touch screens, motion sensors and all sorts of ways to interact with our technology, but how amazing is it that this has fundamentally all come from the small steps developers took in the early days of computing. I know I definitely take for granted how smart the user interfaces we work with these days really are, and how they enhance our lives so much.

I feel it is relevant to almost everyone today that we pay respects to such an intelligent and talented man, and say a big thank you for everything he has done for us. – BBC Website, 03 July 2013