In 1968 during the Fall Joint Computer Conference held in San Francisco, a scientist named Doug Engelbart and his associates from the Stanford Research Center presented a 90 minute demonstration to 1,000 or so computer professionals, on an online system they had created. The demonstration of their work changed how people viewed the computer and what the computer could do. It showed that the computer was more than a giant calculator. Also, during this demonstration Doug Engelbart and his team presented a number of other innovations, one of which was the computer mouse (Engelbart, 1968).
The personal computer can be found just about everywhere in this day and age, computers are used in schools, libraries, businesses, and people’s homes. In order, to work with the computer a user needs technology that can direct the computer. It is because of the need of the user to direct the computer, as well as frustration with the pointing devices available at that time that Doug Engelbart began dreaming up the idea of a different approach to a pointing device. He developed the idea for one that was equipped with small wheels, to help the device move across the top of a work station (Engelbart, 1973).
The prototype computer mouse that Doug Engelbart presented during the demonstration was made of wood and consisted of only one button (Engelbart, 1970). However, even at such an early stage in its development the mouse was faster and more accurate then the other pointing devices available, such as the light pen, the tracker ball, or other inventions created by Doug Engelbart and his team (Jordan,unknown ).
The technology of the mouse migrated to other computer research companies and has over the years gone through many changes and updates. The materials in its construction, the number of buttons and even the move from using wheels to a ball, and then to a mouse pad are all good examples. Computer mice have been developed for different reasons and users; there are mice for gaming, wireless mice, and mice with 2 to 5 buttons. It is interesting that the computer mouse, which seems to be such a simple technological creation, is still, even after 40+ years and the push for newer and different technology a staple for computer users (Edwards, 2008).
For this project I plan to look at the history of the computer mouse, by researching the creator, the antecedents, and understanding the computer technology of the time. I also plan to look at the reasons behind the creation of the mouse, and to research and hopefully understand the interaction/ relationship between the computer and the mouse. Finally, I plan to look at the evolution of the mouse and its cultural impact.