The Computer Mouse Turns 50!

Though it may not seem that old, the computer mouse will soon celebrate a half-century of existence. Inventors Douglas Engelbart and Bill English began working on the device as early as 1963. English was the lead author of a 1965 report that featured the first print mention of the first mouse prototype. The Mother of All Demos, as the event has come to be known, took place on December 9, 1968, when Engelbart demonstrated his mouse, which moved rigidly along x/y axes.

Dr. Herb Dershem

During Dr. Herb Dershem’s long tenure in the department of computer science at Hope College, he saw a wide and fast-moving array of computer innovation. “When I began at Hope, the only way to interact with a computer was by a punch card,” he says.  Dershem taught in the department for 44 years (1969-2013) during the period when the computer mouse was introduced, welcomed, and embraced, revolutionizing personal and business computing along the way. He is now director of institutional research at the college and can address such questions as:

  • How did the palm-sized contraption that we all know and love get its name?
  • How have the ergonomics, technology and functionality of the computer mouse changed since its invention?
  • How has the introduction and increased use of touch screens and voice recognition changed the way people use computer mice? Are they actually being used less frequently?

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