In The News

Tributes are paid to computer mouse inventor Douglas Engelbart

Tributes are paid to computer mouse inventor Douglas Engelbart

TRIBUTES have been paid to the inventor of the computer mouse Douglas Engelbart who passed away aged 88.

It is stunning to think that when Dr. Engelbart first demonstrated the mouse, the invention was almost lost among the raft of other innovations that he and his team revealed at an event in San Francisco in 1968.

The event, which is today known as The Mother of All Demos (see below), was attended by around 1,000 computer experts. They witnessed Dr. Engelbart not only demonstrate the mouse but also such innovations as hypertext, dynamic file linking, object addressing, shared-screen collaboration over a network.

The revelations gave those present a glimpse of what the future was to hold for computing. It must be remembered that up until that point, and for some time to come, computers were large and hard to use — personal computing as we know it today was unheard of. The demonstration became an inspiration to many.

Dr. Engelbart had set out with the vision of computers augmenting the human intellect. The innovations he had unveiled had been developed at the Augmentation Research Centre at Stanford Research Institute in California.

But in many ways Dr. Engelbart’s vision for the future of computing was supplanted by personal computing, but his contribution to the industry is recognized as having been of seminal importance. 

As far as the computer mouse is concerned, today it is used across the world but its inventor never made any money from it. By the time the computer industry caught up and produced machines which needed the device, the patent had run out.

Among the many honours that he received was the Lemelson-MIT Prize of $500,000 (the world’s largest single prize for invention and innovation) and the ACM Turing Award.

To view an excerpt from The Mother of All Demos, click here.

View previous In the News items: Cancer is number one cause of death in Northern Ireland, Work still to begin on planned crematoriums, Photographer Bert Stern passes away, Tributes are paid to new wave drummer Alan Myers, Science fiction author Richard Matheson passes away, Blues singer Bobby Bland passes away, Tributes are paid to author Vince Flynn, Country singer Slim Whitman passes away, Funeral takes place of tragic Newry man, Former tennis champion Gene Mako passes away, Jazz flautist Sam Most passes away, Tributes are paid to pioneering chocolate maker, Champion racehorse trainer Sir Henry Cecil passes away, Former athletics star Donna Hartley passes away, Swimming movie star Esther Williams passes away, Tributes are paid to writer Tom Sharpe, Funerals take place of drowning victims, Singer Clarence Burke Jr passes away, Tributes are paid to Nobel winner Heinrich Rohrer, Actor Bill Pertwee passes away, Cancer deaths increase in Northern Ireland, Tributes are paid to former footballer Brian Greenhoff, Rock bassist Trevor Bolder passes away, Morecame and Wise comedy writer passes away, Comedy star Paul Shane passes away, Scientist who helped identify hole in ozone layer passes away, Tributes are paid to Archers actor Arnold Peters, Expert on the Dead Sea Scrolls passes away, Film director and writer Bryan Forbes passes away, Tributes are paid to film special effects genius Ray Harryhausen, Heart attack deaths continue to fall in Northern Ireland, Cancer treatment trailblazer Emil Frei passes away, Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman passes away, Former Hollywood great Deanna Durbin passes away, Headstone error corrected at grave of Anne Bronte, Oldest man in Northern Ireland passes away, Man who provided famous flag passes away, MASH actor Allan Arbus passes away, Tributes are paid to folk singer Richie Havens, Author E L Konigsburg passes away, Tributes are paid to record producer Andy Johns, Graphic designer Storm Thorgerson passes away, Hillsborough justice campaigner Anne Williams passes away, Thousands line the route for funeral of Baroness Thatcher, Conductor Sir Colin Davis passes away, Comic genius Jonathan Winters passes away, IVF pioneer Sir Robert Edwards passes away, Queen to attend funeral of Baroness Thatcher, Remains of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda exhumed, Robert Zildjian of cymbals fame passes away, Tributes are paid to great Irish actor, Jane Henson of Muppets fame passes away or Musician and critic Solly Lipsitz passes away

If you have a relative or a friend who has passed away and feel they should be mentioned in our In the News section, then please email us.