He was 88. He believed his work was all about “augmenting human intellect”. To him this meant making computers more user friendly, smaller and given to intuitive use. All to help solve mankind’s problems.
Towards that end he developed in the ‘60s and ‘70s a funny little device: The mouse. It started as a wooden shell covering an ‘x’ and ‘y’ wheel, which together determined the screen position indicator (cursor). The first mice became available in 1984. He never made any money on it…the patent expired and it passed into the public domain before he could. Since the mid 1980s, at least a billion have been sold.
He also (with others) developed the use of multiple windows and ARPANet…which led to the Internet. He pioneered computer networking. In 1968 from home he used his lab’s online system to illustrate his ideas to an auditorium audience. He was the first to do that. It stunned his colleagues.
In 1997 he won the Lemelson-MIT Prize, and in 2000 President Clinton awarded him the National Medal of Technology “for creating the foundations of personal computing.”
He was a farm boy from Oregon who served in WWII as a radar technician. He was inspired there to create machines to aid human cognition.
He earned his Ph.D. at Berkeley, but was warned to tone down his wild ideas or he’d never be promoted…so he left for Stanford Research Institute… SRI International. He had the courage of his convictions.
A giant has passed. Tip your hats.
Rest in peace, Dr. Engelbart. Thank you, sir.
This was prepared using the Internet and a mouse.