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Logitech celebrates Mother of All Demos, 50 years old Invention of the Mouse

50 years ago, on December 9th, 1968, the “Mother of all demos” had been demonstrated in the tech community by a man named Douglas Engelbart. Douglas was an engineer at Stanford Research Institute, who had put up a computer conference in San Francisco to showcase several evolutionary technologies.

The demo is known to be the computer industry’s then futuristic conference till date. The demo is also considered to be one of a kind because engineer Douglas has shown profuse technologies on the stage that included – word processing, hyper-texting, video conferencing, multiple windows, graphics on a desktop, editing, real-time computer collaboration and the predominant ‘mouse,’ all-in-all in 1968.

Engelbart’s focus was on the human-computer interaction, especially at his Augmentation Research Center, which resulted in the invention of the computer mouse. Despite his genius ideas that are being taken for granted in today’s era, his name is still known little in this modern society. For instance, Windows, Skype, FaceTime, or Google Docs, which are currently the effective services recognized globally are built on the idea of Engelbart visionary ideas.

As for the demonstration, it featured a 90-minute presentation showcasing all the fundamental elements of modern personal computing called oN-Line system. This was presumably Douglas’ first public demonstration witnessing all these essential items on a single system. Douglas along with his engineering team has conducted this innovative demonstration at his Augmentation Research Centre at Stanford Research Institute (SRI). A 1,000 number of computer professionals also witnessed the presentation on that stage, that day.

Apart from the word processing, hyper-texting, the innovations like video conferencing and the interactive mouse looked futuristic back then. While the video conferencing is the modern era’s Skype, the mouse has also become a significant invention in contemporary society.

Prototype Mouse demonstrated at "Mother of all demos" presentation back in 1968Prototype Mouse demonstrated at "Mother of all demos" presentation back in 1968Prototype Mouse demonstrated at "Mother of all demos" presentation back in 1968

During the presentation in 1968, Douglas had showcased the prototype mouse on the stage alongside the keyboard, which looked a big chunk of a wooden box in hand. However, before 1965, Douglas had developed a mouse with his lead engineer Bill English, for which, the patent was received in 1970. The patent was then described as an ‘X-Y position indicator for a display system.’ Ironically ‘mouse’ was a nickname to the X-Y position indicator. Even though, the SRI had patented the ‘mouse’ they hadn’t known the value of it until it was licensed to Apple Computer for around $40,000.

Well, celebrating the 50 years of “Mother of all demos” that resulted in creation of computer mouse, a well-known Computer mouse, and personal computing peripheral manufacturer, Logitech says – having been fortunate to host the Engelbart foundation from 1992-2007 and experience his immense vision firsthand, Logitech has collaborated with the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA, to help showcase this Silicon Valley hero, while looking ahead to the next 50 years of technology and human empowerment.

Logitech, a Swiss company, has started its journey with their introduction of mice for computers in 1981 that provided an intuitive way of interacting with your personal computer. Albeit the start with the mouse, the company has come a long way by unveiling some innovative mice along with a dozen of other computer peripherals as well. This 9th December, we commemorate the genius of Douglas Engelbart and dedicate our innovations to his inventions 50 years ago, says Logitech.

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