The history of the mouse


From the 60s to the present, the mouse went from being a heavy box made of wood, to become in a lightweight and ergonomic accessory, and also incredibly useful, and that over time has become an irreplaceable tool for any task on the computer with a minimum of comfort and precision. We would not be exaggerating if we say that without the mouse, the computer would not be so useful and flexible as we know it.

The mouse became an indispensable device for any type of user, but very few know how it was invented and what is the history of this device. To know about the history of the mouse is necessary to go back a bit (quite actually) in time and descend in Canada in the ’50s.

Mouse history

1952: Born the first trackball, created by the Canadian Navy

About ten years before the creation of the first mouse, the Maritime Command of the Canadian Forces (MARCOM) contacted several companies that might be interested in participating in some projects involving the armed forces, universities and private companies.

One such project aimed to create a machine that was capable of sharing radar data in real time, so that all combatants could have a unified view of the battlefield. This project was known as DATAR.

Mouse history

But the most interesting part is that the DATAR included a curious device for the time. The radar operators sent radar data via a trackball, a “mouse” in which to displace the cursor, was enough to turn a ball located on the device.

Of course this first Trackball did not have the elegance and weight of current models. To get an idea, the Canadian Navy used a sphere of the size of a bowling ball for the construction of that device, and as it was a military project and therefore secret, it was never registered Trackball.

1963: The first prototype mouse, created by Douglas Engelbart

Independently, the researcher Douglas Engelbart, from Stanford Research Institute, worked at a very advanced project for the time in which he lived. In the early 60s, most computers still were operated with punch cards and other methods that do not allow user interaction with the machine.

Engelbart was working on a machine that was designed to increase the human intellect. Many of the technologies used today emerged from this project, such as the graphical interface, video and chat.

Mouse history

Among the input devices presented by Engelbart in 1968, during the first public demonstration of his project, there was a small wooden box with a red button on the top and a wire coming out of one side, simulating somehow the tail of a mouse. It was the first mouse in the history.

1970: It was sold the first mouse model of history

The “Position Indicator X-Y for display systems”, worked with two gears that recorded the horizontal and vertical cursor positions.

Mouse history

A few weeks after filing Engelbart, the German company Telefunken launched a mouse model that had a small rubber ball inside, responsible for recording the coordinates. Although the device was part of computer components brand, was considered the first mouse marketed in history.

1973 – 1981: Xerox mice

The following mice that won the market were sold with personal computers Xerox, like the Alto, from 1973, the first desktop computer that possessed a mouse, in order to use the graphical interface designed for use with this device.

Mouse history

Another computer that became famous for incorporating a mouse as part of their equipment, was the Xerox Star, officially known as the Xerox 8010 Information System. This was also one of the first computers to incorporate other, more common technologies in today’s computers, such as Ethernet networks, file servers and print.

1983: The first Apple mouse

In 1983, Apple launched the famous Lisa computer, which included a mouse. A prominent feature of this model is that instead of using a rubber ball, the mouse Lisa wore a metal sphere. This was the model that set the standard of a single button for all mouses of the company for nearly 20 years.

Mouse history

1999: optical mouse is released

Although research on this technology dates back to 1980, the fact is that it was not until 1999 that emerged the first commercial model of this type. The IntelliMouse with IntelliEye, of Microsoft, working on almost any surface and showed significant improvements compared with the mechanical mouse.

The main difference was the fact that the “ball” of the mechanical mouse was replaced by an infrared LED, with the advantage that this model did not accumulate dirt, preventing the user from having to open the device to clean it.

Mouse history

The IntelliMouse series was the first to incorporate the scroll wheel (scroll wheel between the two buttons). Later, these models continued to evolve and the LED was replaced by a laser, invading the market in 2004.

Other mouse models

The evolution of this sympathetic peripheral does not end there, fortunately. Mice currently incorporated gyroscopes, allowing not need to use on a flat surface physics. These types of models require only some small movements so that the cursor moves, thereby reducing physical fatigue caused by dragging the mouse all day.

Mouse history

Another innovation are called 3D mouses, developed especially for editing and browsing images in three dimensions, but are not limited to such use. Also have emerged new models to which you can add them effects that generate sensations, such as to make the device vibrate when the cursor be on any graphic element.

In addition, it should be noted devices like the Kinect, from Xbox 360, which can serve as a guide for the development of future mouses, where it is not necessary to take any element with your hand to move the cursor.

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