SRI research organization confirmed on Wednesday that computer pioneer Douglas Engelbart passed away in his home in Atherton, California on Tuesday night. The computer visionary had won numerous awards for his invention of the computer mouse and graphical user interface. He received the Turing Award and Lemelson-MIT Prize in 1997 and the National Medal of Technology in 2000.
Engelbart unveiled the prototype of the computer mouse in December 1968. The device originally looked like a clunky wooden box with two rolling disks and a tiny red button and was called an “X-Y position indicator for a display system”. He was the first person to exhibit a video conference with a colleague 50 kilometers away in the same conference.
Apart from the computer mouse, Engelbart along with his colleagues at the Stanford Research Institute and Augmentation Research Center (his own lab) also developed ARPANet, the government research network that led to development of the Internet. He is also considered the first to demonstrate how to use multiple windows on your computer.
SRI International was Douglas Engelbart’s employer for over 20 years. It licensed Englebart’s mouse design for $40,000 to Apple, which released it with its Lisa computer in 1983.
On Engelbart’s death, Curtis R. Carlson, the CEO of SRI International, said: “Engelbart brought tremendous value to society. We will miss his genius, warmth and charm. Doug's legacy is immense. Anyone in the world who uses a mouse or enjoys the productive benefits of a personal computer is indebted to him."