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Mouse Scurries Toward Future

Mouse Scurries Toward Future

The Mouse Has Matured

Created more than 35 years ago as a mere "pointing device," the mouse has matured from a clunky wooden box into a sleek, wireless machine. The Evolution continues...

Patent Description: X-Y Position Indicator for a Display System

Born: 1963-64

First Public Appearance: December 1968 at the Fall Joint Computer Conference in San Francisco. The audience went bonkers

Inventor: Douglas Engelbart, leader of Stanford Research Institute's oNLine System project

Purpose: According to Engelbart, the mouse was intended to enhance human intellect

Genealogy: The first mouse was a wooden box with one button and two perpendicular wheels. To draw lines, users had to tilt the mouse so that one wheel was in the air

Mouse Bytes: In 1995, a former secretary was one of the first to sue two computer makers for repetitive-stress injuries. In a bizarre plot twist, lawyers for one manufacturer agreed to pay a six-figure settlement after overlooking incriminating evidence when compiling documents for discovery. The other escaped without penalty

Survival of the Fittest: Average lifespan of a live mouse: three years. Average lifespan of a computer mouse: one to five years

Optical Illusions: Introduced by Microsoft in July 1999, the optical mouse replaces the ball with a digital camera and a light-emitting diode. As the mouse is dragged across a desk, a camera snaps up to 1,500 pictures per second

Virtual Type: Harmonic Research of Manassas, Virginia has developed a prototype of the Lightglove - a mouse replacement that lets users manipulate and click their cursor by waving their fingers in the air. Worn as a wristband, the device uses optical sensors to detect the fingers' typing movements

Feel the Vibe: Launched in August 2000, Logitech's iFeel MouseMan comes equipped with force-feedback, which simulates shakes and bumps as the cursor glides over the screen's visual contours. Customized sensations include "rubbery" and "sonic vibe"

High Honor: In a December 2000 ceremony, President Clinton presented Engelbart with the National Medal of Technology, America's highest award of its kind

Powerful Praise: At the close of a 1998 Stanford event titled "Engelbart's Unfinished Revolution," the well-known inventor autographed posters of himself for an adoring horde of 1,500

A Clear Vision: The mouse entered consumers' homes for the first time in 1983 with the introduction of the Apple Lisa. Apple Computer co-founder Steve Jobs had recognized the commercial potential of a new kind of computer - complete with mouse - while touring the Xerox PARC lab in 1979

Caution: Ergonomics experts recommend keeping the mouse at the same height as the keyboard to avoid injury. It should be placed in front of the body, not to the side

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