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 The Complete Guide To Computer Mouse History In 3 Minutes

Have you ever wondered how the mouse you use every day works?

Let’s find out!

What Do Computer Mouses Do? 

A computer mouse is a tool for graphical user interfaces that controls the cursor. It can move, select, point, and be used for other things.


Douglas Engelbart invented the first computer mouse in the early 1960s. At that time, he was the head of Stanford Research Institute’s (SRI) Augmentation Research Center in Menlo Park, California.

The mouse was only a small component of a much broader research program that was initiated in 1962 with the intention of improving human intelligence.

By the time Engelbart created the mouse, he had already been looking into methods to help people become better at solving complex issues for about a decade.

After having the concept, Engelbart hired Bill English, who was already employed by SRI in another lab, to develop the hardware. Later, Jeff Rulifson joined the team, greatly improving the software’s overall quality.

Doug Engelbart and Bill English envisioned the use of computer-aided working stations to support problem-solvers in their attempts. They needed to be able to manipulate information displays by moving a pointer around the screen using a device.

The light pen, joysticks, and other gadgets were among the ones that were being used at the time or were being evaluated for use. The greatest and most effective gadget, however, was what Engelbart and English were searching for.

The first computer mouse prototype was created in 1964 for use with a graphical user interface (GUI), or “windows”. And it cost $300 to buy at that time, which is equal to $2,866 in 2022, adjusted for inflation.

They approached NASA in 1966, and with NASA money, the team created several tasks and timed volunteers performing them while using different equipment. For instance, the computer may produce a pointer in one location and an item at a random location on the screen. The amount of time it took users to move the pointer to the item was timed.

It wasn’t long before it was obvious that the mouse was superior to the others. By continually asking the user to pick up the pointer and reach all the way to the screen, devices like the light pen just require too much time.

The cord was initially located at the front of the mouse, but it was quickly shifted to the back to clear the way. It was a straightforward mechanical device with two bottom-mounted discs positioned perpendicularly. To create absolutely straight horizontal or vertical lines, you might rock or tilt the mouse.

Not long after the mouse received wheels, Bill English later changed the wheels to a ball, giving it its present-day form. The mouse may go in any direction thanks to the ball.

Compared to Douglas’ design, this makes the mouse considerably simpler to operate. At the time, Bill was employed at Xerox Alto, a tech firm. His enhanced plan assisted the business in developing the first mouse-compatible computer. It quickly achieved great success.

Users must often clean mechanical computer mouses since they become dirty over time. Because of this, work on finding a better solution started right away. The advent of optical mouses, maybe around 1980, marked the beginning of a new age.

However, optical mouses didn’t really take off until they were made commercially available to a large audience in at least 1998, when mechanical mouses started to lose favor.

The MX 1000, a mouse from Logitech, is the first optical tracking mouse to use a laser. Compared to the prior LED-based optical tracking technique, Agilent’s laser tracking technology offers a great deal more precision.

In September 2003, when it unveiled the Apple Wireless Keyboard and Apple Wireless Mouse, Apple became the first company to integrate operating system support for Bluetooth keyboard and mouse input devices. 

The market for Bluetooth keyboards and mouses lagged behind Apple for many years, choosing instead to use proprietary RF transmitter/receiver dongles rather than Bluetooth.

Like the history of the contemporary computer, the history of the computer mouse is one of invention and creativity, and optical mouses are not the end of the narrative. In the modern era, research is being done to develop ergonomic computer mouses that are not only simple to use but also beneficial to your health, something that earlier mouse designs could not offer.