Happy Birthday! The mouse turns 45 today

The seemingly common peripheral that sits on our desks and gets taken for granted has not always been a part of computing. The lowly mouse has also changed more than you think over its lifespan, and its contribution to the technology world should be in little doubt. The tiny hand-held device has made major strides since its debut, 45 years ago today.

Yes, it was on December 9th, 1968, long before Windows was even a twinkle in Bill Gates' eye, that the little product made its first appearance. Years earlier, Douglas Engelbart filed a patent for a device he developed in 1963 at Stanford University. However, it took until 1966 for Patent number 3,541,541 to be granted -- fast by today's standards.

Since those early days, the device has come surprisingly far, for something that seems so simple. The one I currently use has no cord, no buttons and no track ball. Instead, it connects via Bluetooth, uses touch for motion, and has a laser to pinpoint its location. It even has a switch to allow for pairing with two devices. Englebert would be proud.

Sadly, the inventor missed this momentous occasion, having passed away on July 2nd of this year at the age of 88. However, he is known forever as the inventor of "human-computer interaction". Happy birthday to the oft-under-appreciated peripheral that has stood the test of time, and farewell to Mr. Engelbart.

Image Credit: Jiri Hera / Shutterstock

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