The “mouse” turns 50. It is November 17, 1970 and, after 3 years of waiting, Douglas Engelbart receives the patent for the project called “X – Y position indicator for a screen system”. An impractical name, so, given the similarity, we choose to adopt the nickname mouse.
In fact, since its invention, the electronic pointer has been composed of a central body and a wire on the rear end, with the characteristic shape of a stylized mouse. Thanks to two metal discs the pointer was able to move only horizontally and was equipped with a key to send electrical signals to the computer. The mouse is the first device capable of interacting with a graphical interface, a real revolution in the way of working.
Although the project is assigned to Engelbart, in reality the team consisted of 18 scientists who, throughout the 1960s, collaborated together at the Stanford Research Institute in Menlo Park, California. To be able to see the mouse at work, you have to wait a few years, with the entry on the market of the Xerox Alto, the first computer with a graphic interface. At the time, not everyone could afford a personal desktop computer, and the project seemed to encounter many difficulties.
And this is where Steve Jobs comes in: thanks to “only” 40 thousand dollars, Apple takes over the patent rights and implements the system on its Lisa device, the first model of personal computer of the Cupertino company, and subsequently for the Macintosh. This is why many attribute the mouse’s authorship to Steve Jobs.
Despite the years, the most famous electronic mouse in the world has remained substantially unchanged, only the technology used for movement has changed. Over time we have gone from the version with the spheres to that of today with the laser. The name “mouse” is also used for wireless models, which has now become a real icon.