William English, Co-Creator of the First Computer Mouse

William English, Co-Creator of the First Computer Mouse

William English

The co-creator of the first computer mouse led the way for the mice we know and use today. William English, the co-creator of the world’s first mouse has passed away at 91.

In 1960, William English Also known as Bill English joined the Stanford Research Institute (SRI). In 1964 he was one of the first to join Douglas Engelbart’s lab known as the Augmentation Research Center. William English and Douglas Engelbart worked together to create a prototype in 1963 of a computer mouse that that designed by Engelbart and built by lead engineer, English.

English worked at the SRI International’s Augmentation Research Centre (ARC) under Engelbart, and was responsible for developing new innovative ways that people could interact with computers and technology.

The original mouse, as built by Bill English in the mid-’60s, was merely a pinewood block, a crude button, and a connector that’s long been lost to the annals of history. It contained two potentiometers, components that could track the movement of two small wheels as a user moved the device.


And while it doesn’t look like much, it would kick-start an invention that would soon sweep the globe during the computing explosion of the late ’90s. In 1967, SRI filed a patent for the mouse under the name “x,y position indicator for a display system.” The patent was awarded in 1970. In 1968, at the Mother of All Demos English and Engelbart revealed the mouse alongside a bunch of other things. You can watch the mouse demonstrated in Clip 12.

In 1971, William English left SRI and joined Xerox PARC where he eventually developed the ball mouse which was similar to the Rollkugel, a trackball developed by Telefunken in 1968. Telefunken never applied for a patent for the Rollkugel because it felt the invention was too unimportant.

Douglas Engelbart passed away back in 2013 at the age of 88. And thanks to Engelbart and English, and their team at SRI, the world of computing progressed with the help of mice. Eventually leading to the creation of the first laser mouse developed by Logitec in 2004.

English is survived by his wife, Roberta; two sons, Aaron and John; a stepdaughter, Patricia; and a granddaughter, The New York Times reports.

Source : Pcgamer 

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