History of the Computer Mouse

The First Computer Mouse

Douglas Englebart, wanted to create a way for people to interact with a computer screen.
Douglas Englebart, wanted to create a way for people to interact with a computer screen.

Roller Ball Mouse

The computer mouse

If you are reading this one of your hands is probably resting on a mouse, this page reflects the origins of the mouse and the future of the computer mouse.

In the 1960s, a relatively unknown inventor Douglas Englebart, wanted to create a way for people to interact with a computer screen.

With the help of Bill English, a pioneer of human-computer interaction, he came up with all sorts of ideas, including a giant metal track ball and a knee operated device- which looked more like a medieval torture device than a computer peripheral, but these devices lacked speed and accuracy unlike his personal favourite-a mouse which was nothing more than a carved block of wood with some electronics inside.

In September 1972, Englebart's project partner-English-built the roller ball mouse, it could navigate a pointer around the screen with ease, and it was so successful that despite advances in technology, you can still buy a basic no frills roller ball mouse today.

Englebart never made a single penny from his invention because by the time that the mouse had become popular his patent had been out of date for a number of years.

Optical Mouse

The Computer Mouse

Over the years the amount of buttons on the mouse has fluctuated, one was supposed to be most simple for new users; three gave more options, but in the end the majority of users have two buttons on their mouse.

The roller ball mouse has gradually been phased out over the past ten years, replaced by the optical mouse, and more recently the laser mouse, both these types beat the roller ball mouse hands down, you don't require a rubber mat for them, with the laser mouse if you had the inclination, you could surf the Internet on your laptop whilst doing a bungee jump, brushing your hair and singing the national anthem at the same time it is so accurate.

Laser Mouse

Gyroscopic Mouse

The Future of The Computer Mouse

These days there are mice that are specifically designed for games, allowing you to tailor their feel depending on the game you are playing.

Logitech released a mouse recently that uses gyroscopic technology so that you can make changes to applications in Windows Vista by moving your arms about, despite the advances of the mouse, the humble roller mouse will be missed by many, it's hover like skills that saved you from having to dust your desktop.

The mouse will be around for some time to come, although computer interaction technology is continually changing. For example, the pen and tablet combo offers the added benefit of allowing you to draw and write, in a few years you will be able to control your cursor by pointing your finger at the screen or even by moving your eye.

This would be a fun development for someone watching an office full of people wiggling their fingers or winking at their computer screens.

Douglas Englebart

On July 4th 2013 Douglas Englebart passed away but his invention and innovation is still going strong, He will be remembered every time that someone starts up their computer and rests their hand on a mouse.

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Comments 30 comments

livelonger profile image

livelonger 9 years ago from San Francisco

Great retrospective! I like the gyroscopic idea - similar to the Wii controller, I guess.

Rmnathan profile image

Rmnathan 9 years ago from Sharjah

I still remember the time when we had to type every commond to interact with a computer. Mouse made our lives easier. Jimmythejock, Thanks for giving such an interesting hub.

markion 9 years ago from London

intriguing, and i thought apple invented the mouse!

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America

I never saw a computer mouse until 1990. Things were slow to happen around here. Great Hub!

Betty Jo Petty profile image

Betty Jo Petty 8 years ago from Arkansas, U.S.A.

The first one looks a little unusual. Thank goodness for improvements.

Of course, the first computer usage look pretty funny, too.

pcguru profile image

pcguru 8 years ago from Marietta, GA

Great Histoy lesson Jimmy.... The touch screen is becoming more popular and voice activation is something that is being worked on. right now voice commands are only used in word editing programs, but I'm sure with a little twicking the programmers will figure out a way to make it into commands to navigate around an Operating System (OS)

wow-i-need-info 8 years ago

wow thanks jimmy in need this info for my soc. studies class!!!! luv yas lots!!!!

thnks agin,


One Point... 8 years ago

Great history on the mouse! Your Laser Mouse picture is a little deceptive, however. That looks more like a Laser Pointer function on a corded mouse...

A laser mouse is generally based on similar technology to an optical mouse, and can be wired or wireless, however is more accurate as a laser beam is a concentrated beam of light, as opposed to an LED (optical) mouse. Thus they are more sensitive/accurate and able to work on more surfaces.

maban 8 years ago

thanks for the information..........................

johnr54 profile image

johnr54 7 years ago from Texas

My first personal computer was an Altair 8800 kit that was featured in Popular Electronics back in the mid 70's. On that beast you didn't even have a monitor, no keyboard, and certainly no mouse. You entered instructions by loading the binary code for each byte on toggle switches on the front panel. Needless to say it was excrutiatingly slow.

Mehroz 7 years ago

Great Informations....

popbradley 7 years ago

great info. Have been looking for something like this for ever

gramsmith profile image

gramsmith 7 years ago

Such a nice article.......if i am not wrong then In 1964, the first prototype computer mouse was made to use with a graphical user interface.Douglas Engelbart was awarded the 1997 Lemelson-MIT Prize of $500,000,and it was the world's largest single prize for invention and innovation and after got this amazing prize he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame In 1998.

mic mac patty wack 6 years ago

im doing a project in my computer class sothis sorda helped

STEVEN BOOKER 6 years ago

I rekon optical mouse are pant's i tried one for a few day's but went back to trackball as i think optical's are to light take up a USB slot and made my PC crash .

john felix 6 years ago

So good

rinalyn mengullo 6 years ago

-it so exciting to do my activities with my computer!imagine i discover some things that may help my studies.....oooh!love it!

computer 5 years ago

This pages is power full mouse more.......

hi 5 years ago

hi this was very useful thanks for the info

bob 5 years ago

i like pie... i also like this article

Carl 5 years ago

I used to know nothing about mice... Then i took an arrow to the knee.

jhunrey 4 years ago

Great Information

vasim 4 years ago

there is story behind mouse invention i couldn't found it, i heard about it on National Geographic.

Girijesh Kumar Mishra 4 years ago

I used some Information gr th mind

ur pie 3 years ago

im doing a computer project this really helped

yati mon myint 3 years ago

it great information

dekalo 3 years ago

thanks for the information

Michele Travis profile image

Michele Travis 3 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

Yep, still using a mouse in order to put my comment into this box.

And it helped me vote this hub up!!!

Sudesh kumar 3 years ago

May be in coming generations mouse may be phased out and direct touch and may be even move by seeing , thinking may take over....!

jainvaibhav profile image

jainvaibhav 2 years ago from New Delhi

Nice post....very informative......

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