Chap1 Research - MakingOfTheMouse.pdf - Cover Story The Making of the Mouse Winter 2002 Winter 2002 Table of Contents Letter from the Editor Notes from

Chap1 Research - MakingOfTheMouse.pdf - Cover Story The...

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Winter 2002 Volume 17, Number 3 Table of Contents Letter from the Editor Notes from the Field Object Lessons The Making of the Mouse The Making of the Mouse Apple Computer is commonly credited with having simply popularized someone else’s idea—but it wasn’t really like that at all by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang The story of the birth of the computer mouse is often told, and it is often told like this: Douglas Engelbart and his associates at the Stanford Research Institute invented the mouse in the 1960s; innovators at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center refined it in the 1970s; and Steve Jobs saw it there in 1979, and his Apple Computer company then took it and brought it to market in the 1980s. This story is at best incomplete. It makes it sound as if Apple’s move reflected business acumen more than technological innovation, and the truth is very different. Apple’s mouse actually was to its predecessors what the DC-3 was to the Wright brothers’ Flyer: not the first of its kind, but the breakthrough in technology and design that made possible a breakthrough in commercialization. Apple moved the mouse from the laboratory to the living room. This took a lot of very hard work, and the work has been neglected precisely because it was so successful. The very first computer mouse was indeed invented by the computer pioneer Douglas Engelbart in the early 1960s. He publicly unveiled it at a now-famous multimedia demonstration at the 1968 Fall Joint Computer Conference in Menlo Park and San Francisco. It was a large wooden object with three buttons, part of his pioneering Online System for networked learning and collaboration. It was designed to enhance serious computer users’ powers, not to help beginners, and six months’ training was necessary to master its various commands and modes. (The word mouse emerged at the same time, based on the thing’s shape and taillike cord; the following year, a researcher named Jack Kelley, who later became a noted furniture designer, created the first mousepad.) The mouse wouldn’t begin to be associated with ease of use until the 1970s, when it was worked into systems Cover Story: The Making of the Mouse - Winter 2002 (1 of 8) [1/1/2002 9:38:36 PM]
THE BASIC DESIGN: Douglas Dayton drew an exploded view of what he helped work out in 1980. CLICK IMAGE TO SEE IDENTIFICATION OF PARTS developed at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center, known as Xerox PARC. Xerox PARC was founded in 1970 to conceive and develop the “office of the future,” and under the direction of Bob Taylor, formerly of the Defense Department’s Advance Research Projects Agency, it became a mecca for cutting-edge computer research. There the mouse grew smaller and flatter, and its small, round buttons were replaced with big, rectangular ones. Engelbart’s mouse had used two wheels attached to potentiometers to track its movement; PARC’s replaced these with a ball bearing whose motion was read by a pair of rollers connected to electrical brushes that sent a signal to move the cursor onscreen. It became part of the Alto, an

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