The GRiD Compass 1101

GRiD Compass 1101 was the world’s first clamshell laptop, and also one of the most durable models at the time of its invention.

What is the GRiD Compass 1101?

Labeled “the grandaddy of laptop computers”, the idea for the GRiD (Graphical Retrieval Information Display) Compass 1101 was initially conceived back in 1979. The inventor behind it was Bill Moggridge, who was a British industrial designer.

The company behind the computer, the GRiD Systems Corporation, was the brainchild of John Ellenby, Glenn Edens, and David Paulsen. Together, they set up the company in Silicon Valley in 1979 and worked out of a garage — just like most other tech startups.

Like most tech inventions, the GRiD Compass 1101 started as a more humble idea. Ellenby wanted a way to send off emails on the go, whereas Glen wanted a fully-fledged portable computer. Once Moggridge joined them, things started taking off. 

Features and Benefits of the GRiD Compass 1101

No one had previously thought about folding the computer screen over the keyboard, and the GRiD company managed to secure the patent for that invention. This innovative feature would eventually go on to become the industry standard for almost all laptop computers in the world.

Not only was the design very practical, but the GRiD Compass 1101 was also extremely durable. The shell of the computer was made from die-cast magnesium, which made it resistant to impacts that would easily damage more fragile computers.

Because of this unique durability, the GRiD Compass 1101 wasn’t only an attractive option for business professionals. The US military, NASA, and other public institutions were also very interested. The laptop was not only used on Air Force 1 but was also used by astronauts on their 1980s shuttle missions.

NASA did make some modifications, however, to make it possible for the GRiD Compass 1101 to communicate with the rest of the onboard equipment. But it wasn’t only used for real space adventures. The GRiD Compass 1101 was also featured in the classic movie Aliens as a gun control terminal.

No other computer on the market packed as much punch as the GRiD Compass 1101. The closest competitor was the Osborne. There was a massive price difference between the two, however. The Osborne was priced at $1,795, whereas the GRiD Compass 1101 set back consumers no less than $8,100. That made it the most expensive personal computer money could buy.

In terms of features, the GRiD Compass 1101 featured a very clear ELD (electroluminescent display) on the monitor. Although 80×24 rows of text isn’t a lot by today’s standards, it was the largest personal computer screen available at the time.

As for the software, only IBM computers used MS-DOS back in the 1980s. The GRiD 1101, on the other hand, ran its own GRiD-OS operating system. That was because IBM didn’t even exist at the time of its invention. The operating system was eventually changed to MS-DOS in order to cater to more consumers.

GRiD-OS wasn’t an inferior software, however. The suite featured a text editor, communication functions, electronic worksheets, databases, programming languages, and could convert data to graphs. Files could even be password protected.

The Legacy of the GRiD Compass 1101

Without this amazing machine, it’s not certain that modern laptops would be where they are today.

Image courtesy of oldcomputers.net.

The Hewlett-Packard HP-65

Hewlett-Packard HP-65 was the world’s first hand-held programmable calculator, which paved the way for today’s much more powerful calculators.

What is the Hewlett-Packard HP-65?

Invented in 1974, the HP-65 marketed as the smallest programmable computer ever. It was able to run programs that had up to one hundred steps. The programs themselves were stored on the calculator in one of its nine storage registers by using magnetic cards.

Features and Benefits of the Hewlett-Packard HP-65

Although you could create your own programs, the HP-65 already came packed with 51 functions. If there weren’t enough for the user’s needs, HP also offered pre-made program libraries designed to accommodate various professional disciplines.

But the calculator also featured a magnetic card reader and recorder, which could be used to create custom programs depending on their needs. The magnetic cards themselves were made out of mylar that was covered in ferric oxide. They were 7.2cm wide and 1.1cm high.

Because of its small size and impressive utility, the HP-65 also joined astronauts on their Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. They used the calculator as a backup for the Apollo Guidance Computer, which was their main operational interface. Since the Apollo Guidance Computer didn’t experience any malfunctions during the mission, the HP-65 wasn’t actually used in space. But it can still claim to be the first hand-held calculator in space.

Bill Hewlett, who was the design lead for the HP-65 project at Hewlett-Packard, wanted a calculator that could fit inside of a shirt pocket. He also wanted the HP-65 to feature solutions to some of the most common problems facing professionals in different fields. These fields included mathematics, statistics, finance, engineering, navigation, surveying, medicine, and science in general.

For that reason, the built-in programs in the HP-65 had algorithms that could help users solve equations, estimate stock prices, and analyze statistics. Some of the more basic mathematical functions included base conversion, square root, trigonometric, inverse, exponentiation, factorial, and logarithms. It could even convert degrees, minutes, seconds, decimal degree values, and cartesian coordinates.

Although the HP-65 can claim to the first of its kind, it wasn’t the first handheld calculator — just the first one that could be programmed. Hewlett-Packard had already designed and released two other handheld calculators: the HP-35 and the HP-45. The programming function of the HP-65 led Hewlett-Packard to label it as a personal computer, rather than just a calculator.

The HP-65 came with a wide range of accessories.

It had a battery case that could hold three rechargeable batteries, a battery charger, and an AC adapter. Because the batteries would eventually stop working over time, Hewlett-Packard also included a battery pack with three extras.

Furthermore, the calculator came with a plastic box that had forty magnetic cards. Just under half of these cards already had program libraries on them. One card was specifically designed to clean the card slot. The remainder was for the user to record their own programs.

The Legacy of the Hewlett-Packard HP-65

The HP-65 is not in use today, but it certainly laid the foundation for many a handheld calculator. Without it, who knows what we would have?

Image courtesy of hpmuseum.org.

The Iomega Zip Drive

The Iomega Zip Drive was the most popular floppy disk storage system in the superfloppy niche during the 1990s.

What is the Iomega Zip Drive?

The Zip Drive was a removable floppy disk storage system launched in 1994 by Iomega. Zip disks were an offshoot from the more widely used floppy disks. Where the traditional floppy disk could only store a few megabytes, the superfloppy disks (known as Zip disks) could hold several hundred megabytes of data.

When the Zip Drives hit the international markets in 1994, they sold quite well. They had a relatively low price point but could hold a large amount of data. In other words, customers got a lot of bang for their buck.

Features and Benefits of the Iomega Zip Drive

People could get their hands on a Zip drive for less than $200, including a free Zip disk. If they needed more Zip disks, they only cost $20 each. In 1994, the average hard drive had a capacity of 500MB but cost $200 to purchase. So you could buy the same amount of storage for half the price if you went with Zip disks.

Although the traditional floppy drives were still quite prevalent, a few companies decided to produce computers with built-in Zip drives. Dell, Apple, and Gateway were among the companies that used internal Zip drives in some of their models. More companies decided to ride the wave of Zip disks towards the end of the 1990s. Some of these companies were Epson, Fujifilm, Maxell, NEC, Toshiba, and Verbatim.

The benefits of Zip drives were clear. As files increased in size, the floppy discs could no longer accommodate the needs of the average user. And since there were no high-speed internet connections, the best solution was to use Zip disks to transfer data between devices.

Nearing the new Millennium, however, the market changed.

The price of CDs dropped, which meant that they could now rival the Zip disks in terms of cost per megabyte. At the same time, the space on hard drives increased from hundreds of megabytes to several gigabytes while the price remained the same.

Finally, the emergence of the USB flash drives as an economical data storage solution also made it difficult for Zip disks to compete on the market. The vast majority of devices had USB ports, which meant that users didn’t have to go out and invest in an additional piece of hardware like the Zip drive.

The Legacy of the Iomega Zip Drive

Opinions on the Zip disks and drives have been divided — sometimes even within the same organizations. PC World, for example, branded the Zip drive one of the worst technologies ever in 2006. The year after, however, the very same publication lauded the Zip drive as one of the best technologies ever.

In the end, cheap CDs, large hard drives, and USB flash drives won out.

Today, the Zip drives are being used by technology enthusiasts who collect old computers and want to transfer data between them. They can also still be found in the music and aviation industries, and other fields that value the longer shelf life of magnetic media over optical media and flash memory.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

The Panasonic DVD-L10

By 1998, the world had already been introduced to portable music devices in the form of Sony’s Walkman and Discman. They’d also enjoyed portable TVs in the form of Sony’s Watchman. Not to be outdone by Sony, however, Panasonic introduced consumers to the portable DVD player, the Panasonic DVD-L10. Now, everyone could watch their favorite movies on the go.

What is the Panasonic DVD-L10?

Panasonic DVD-L10 was released by Panasonic in 1998. It was not only the world’s first portable DVD player but also the smallest one on the market at the time. It came with a built-in LCD screen and stereo speakers and was small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.

The idea behind the Panasonic DVD-P10 was for consumers to be able to watch their favorite movies no matter where they were. It was particularly useful for frequent flyers who did not have access to films on the plane they were flying on. The Panasonic DVD-P10 solved that problem.

The Panasonic DVD-P10 came hot on the heels of the first-ever DVD players, which were released by Panasonic and Toshiba just the year before in 1997. That meant DVD players, in general, was still a very new concept to consumers.

In fact, the DVD-P10 was an important part of DVD history.

Let’s dial the time back to 1995. Toshiba and Warner teamed up with 15 other hardware and software companies to create the SD Alliance. The aim was to produce a unified media format, the DVD, that would make it easier for all companies involved to sell their products… including the Panasonic DVD-P10.

One year later, in 1996, Panasonic announced it would be the first company to produce DVD players. However, they were overtaken by Toshiba, which produced their SD-3000 home DVD player at the same time as Panasonic’s A-100.

A race to be the first on the market ensued. Finally, Panasonic managed to release the DVD-L10, the world’s first portable DVD player, in Japan in 1998. It was a perfect example of competitive capitalism in full effect.

And it paid off.

The Panasonic DVD-L10 was a massive hit, and Panasonic sold quite a few of them in 1998. Reviewers even called it the coolest electronic gadget of 1998. It is today still widely regarded as one of the most important pieces of consumer technology.

DVD Players Related to Panasonic DVD-L10

In addition to the DVD-L10, Panasonic also released the DVD-P10 in the same year. The DVD-P10 was similar to the DVD-L10  but even smaller and lighter than it’s predecessor. Both DVD players were massively popular at the time of their release.

Soon afterward, Panasonic would release the DVD-L50 PalmTheater, which was even smaller and lighter than both the DVD-L10 and the DVD-P10. Panasonic would eventually go on to release the world’s first Blu-ray player in 2009, which offered superior visuals to DVDs.

Features and Benefits of Panasonic DVD-L10

The features of the DVD-L10 were not very impressive by today’s standards, but they certainly were in 1998. It came with a five-inch LCD and two stereo speakers. The design was quite bulky, but it didn’t stop the DVD-L10 from becoming a huge hit.

Image courtesy of TIME.

LED

LED lights are ubiquitous today, but how much do we actually know about one of the most popular sources of illumination?

What is an LED?

The acronym LED doesn’t cover some complex scientific name, but simply stands for “light-emitting diode”. It was invented by Nick Holonyak for General Electric in 1962 and is basically a semiconductor. It’s very popular due to its low power consumption, particularly with the increased focus on green energy solutions.

LED lights are used for a broad range of technological gadgets. You can find them in television sets, computer monitors, flashlights, indicators, traffic lights, and even in some watches. Their broad use is one of the main reasons for their popularity in both domestic and professional contexts.

The earliest LED lights in 1962 emitted infrared light, which is why they were used for remote controls and other consumer electronics that relied on infrared technology. Due to the low intensity of the first LEDs, the color of the light was limited to red only. As technology advanced, higher-intensity LEDs emerged, which also increased the colors available. Today, you’re able to find LEDs pretty much every color on the spectrum.

Features and Benefits of an LED

There are many advantages to LEDs.

LEDs are also quick to warm up, which means that they turn on faster than other sources of light. The average LED can achieve its full brightness within a microsecond, whereas industrial-grade LEDs can light up even faster than that. Despite warming up quickly, LEDs don’t actually emit a lot of heat. They radiate what’s known as “cool light”, which means that they don’t damage objects that are sensitive to heat.

They’re very durable. Where incandescent lights tend to fail when turned on and off repeatedly, LEDs don’t. While they do dim over time, people who use LEDs don’t experience sudden failures as with other lights. Since LEDs are made from shock-resistant components, they can withstand impacts that would break more fragile sources of light.

Also, LEDs have a very long lifespan. Incandescent lights typically last 1,000-2,000 hours, and fluorescent lights can last between 10,000-25,000 hours. LED lights, however, can last 35,000-50,000 hours.

Their long lifespan is one of the reasons why LEDs are known to be very efficient. Since they last for longer, they don’t have to be replaced as often as other sources of light. But that’s not the whole story. LEDs also emit more lumens per watt than traditional light bulbs. Unlike incandescent lights, LEDs don’t consume more energy the larger they become.

Finally, LEDs are also more versatile than other lights. They can display any color without requiring a filter. They’re available in any size, which means they can be attached to small pieces of equipment. They can be dimmed, which makes them useful for car lights and indoor mood lighting. And they can focus their lights, as opposed to other sources that require extra items, such as lampshades and tubes to focus.

The Legacy of the LED

With so many benefits to LEDs, it’s no wonder that they became popular in the ’60s and are still as popular as ever today.

Image courtesy of superbrightleds.com.

The Sony Watchman

Sony has broken a lot of ground when it comes to portable devices. The 1980s saw them not only introduce people to the Walkman and Discman, but also the Watchman. As you might have guessed, the Watchman enabled users to watch TV on the go and was an early precursor to today’s tablet devices.

What is the Sony Watchman?

The Sony Watchman was a series of portable TVs released by Sony in Japan in 1982. It eventually made it to the North American and European markets in 1984.

Before the series was discontinued in 2000, Sony managed to produce over 65 different models of the Watchman. Throughout its development, Sony added more features and bigger displays.

The first version of the Watchman was the FD-210. Its display was only five centimeters wide and didn’t have any color. The total size of the Watchman was 8.7 cm (3.4 in) high, 19.8 cm (7.8 in) wide, and only 3.3 cm (1.3 in) thick.

That made the FD-210 incredibly practical to carry around.

For the first time, people could watch TV anywhere they went. Not only was it practical, but the design itself was revolutionary. A 5 cm wide grayscale screen is nothing compared to the smartphones of today, but it had never been seen before in 1982.

The later versions of the Watchman saw Sony adding larger displays in color, as well as AM and FM radios. If you look closely, you’ll be able to spot the Watchman several times in the movie Rain Man.

The main reason Sony discontinued the Watchman series was that TV stations switched from an analog signal to digital. That pretty much rendered the device useless, because you had to buy a digital converter box to watch TV. Not only that, but today’s smartphones allow users to plug directly into their cable box at home.

Nevertheless, the Sony Watchman was a wonderful invention at the time of its release.

Other TV Players Related to the Sony Watchman

As mentioned, there were over 65 variations of the Watchman, each new version with better displays and more functionality than the previous iterations.

Features and Benefits of the Sony Watchman

The FD-30 introduced users to the added AM/FM radio in 1984. Two years later, the FD-45 model came with a water-resistant feature. The year after that, the FD-3 version included a digital clock built into it.

The Watchman’s display was upgraded to 4 inches with the introduction of the FD-40, FD-42, FD-44, and FD-45 models. These versions were among the largest Watchmen to hit the market. Additionally, the FD-40 also had an A/V input.

The Watchman FD-280 (made in 1990) and FD-285 (made in 1994), were the last versions to use CRT displays in black and white. However, Sony had already created the FDL 330S in 1988, which had an LCD display. Two years later, the FDL-310 not only had an LCD but also showed color.

In 1998, the FDL-22 model gave users a much more handy Watchman that came with an ergonomic body. That made it easy to easier to carry around and also came with Sony’s wrist strapped antenna, aptly called the Straptenna.

Image courtesy of TIME.

The Epson HX-20

Most people today have a laptop, but current models have come along way from the original Epson HX-20.

What is the Epson HX-20?

The Epson HX-20 was invented by Yukio Yokozawa in 1980 and is considered the be the first laptop computer. Yokozawa worked for the company today known as Seiko Epson and received the patent for his invention. It was originally launched in Japan as the HC-20, and only became known as the HX-20 when it was introduced to the US market the year after.

It became a massive hit at the COMDEX show in Las Vegas because you could carry it with you. Portable, battery-charges computers were a brand new trend at the time and it was all the more interesting due to its practical size.

Features and Benefits of the Epson HX-20

The Epson HX-20 came in two colors (silver and cream), was the size of an A4 paper and weighed 1.6kg. In 1982, it was mass-produced in both the Japanese and US markets where it was labeled as the fourth revolution in personal computing by BusinessWeek.

The laptop came with two programs. One was a monitor application that enabled users to manipulate the memory of the system. The other was the BASIC programming language developed by Microsoft. It also came with a digital clock that could easily be set.

The HX-20 also came with a dot-matrix printer the size of a pocket calculator. It was able to print 42 lines per minute, each with a maximum of 24 characters per line.

In terms of storage, the HX-20 offered a built-in miniature micro-cassette recorder that customers could add on for an additional $135. Despite its now primitive technology, it automatically backed up the data twice without any additional work on the user’s part. Each micro-cassette tape could hold around 50 kilobytes of data. Users who wanted additional data storage could also buy an external cassette recorder and an external floppy disk drive.

The laptop also came with nickel-cadmium batteries, which were not only rechargeable but could also last 50 hours. That’s quite a lot considering that today’s laptops only last for a few hours before having to be recharged. As opposed to modern computers, however, the HX-20 didn’t automatically turn off when idle. So inattentive users could easily deplete the battery.

The LCD screen was only 32 pixels high and 120 pixels wide, and could only show four lines of text with 20 characters on each. Although this seems extremely tiny by today’s standards, it was actually the largest LCD screen available at the time.

The Legacy of the Epson HX-20

Despite the many extras customers could buy and attach to the Epson HX-20, it was lampooned by critics. Only a year after its initial release, BYTE magazine wrote that it didn’t sell well because it lacked accessories and an operating system enabling users to store data on cassettes. The only praise BYTE had for the laptop was for the accompanying dot-matrix printer, which they called amazing.

A year later, the TRS-80 Model 100 hit the international market and quickly overshadowed the success of the Epson HX-20. However, the TRS-80 Model 100 wouldn’t have existed if it wasn’t for the HX-20, as much of its design was based on the first Epson.

Image courtesy of oldcomputer.info.

LED

LED lights are ubiquitous today, but how much do we actually know about one of the most popular sources of illumination?

What is an LED?

The acronym LED doesn’t cover some complex scientific name, but simply stands for “light-emitting diode”. It was invented by Nick Holonyak for General Electric in 1962 and is basically a semiconductor. It’s very popular due to its low power consumption, particularly with the increased focus on green energy solutions.

LED lights are used for a broad range of technological gadgets. You can find them in television sets, computer monitors, flashlights, indicators, traffic lights, and even in some watches. Their broad use is one of the main reasons for their popularity in both domestic and professional contexts.

The earliest LED lights in 1962 emitted infrared light, which is why they were used for remote controls and other consumer electronics that relied on infrared technology. Due to the low intensity of the first LEDs, the color of the light was limited to red only. As technology advanced, higher-intensity LEDs emerged, which also increased the colors available. Today, you’re able to find LEDs pretty much every color on the spectrum.

Features and Benefits of an LED

There are many advantages to LEDs.

LEDs are also quick to warm up, which means that they turn on faster than other sources of light. The average LED can achieve its full brightness within a microsecond, whereas industrial-grade LEDs can light up even faster than that. Despite warming up quickly, LEDs don’t actually emit a lot of heat. They radiate what’s known as “cool light”, which means that they don’t damage objects that are sensitive to heat.

They’re very durable. Where incandescent lights tend to fail when turned on and off repeatedly, LEDs don’t. While they do dim over time, people who use LEDs don’t experience sudden failures as with other lights. Since LEDs are made from shock-resistant components, they can withstand impacts that would break more fragile sources of light.

Also, LEDs have a very long lifespan. Incandescent lights typically last 1,000-2,000 hours, and fluorescent lights can last between 10,000-25,000 hours. LED lights, however, can last 35,000-50,000 hours.

Their long lifespan is one of the reasons why LEDs are known to be very efficient. Since they last for longer, they don’t have to be replaced as often as other sources of light. But that’s not the whole story. LEDs also emit more lumens per watt than traditional light bulbs. Unlike incandescent lights, LEDs don’t consume more energy the larger they become.

Finally, LEDs are also more versatile than other lights. They can display any color without requiring a filter. They’re available in any size, which means they can be attached to small pieces of equipment. They can be dimmed, which makes them useful for car lights and indoor mood lighting. And they can focus their lights, as opposed to other sources that require extra items, such as lampshades and tubes to focus.

The Legacy of the LED

With so many benefits to LEDs, it’s no wonder that they became popular in the ’60s and are still as popular as ever today.

Image courtesy of superbrightleds.com.

DiskOnKey

DiskOnKey was the first USB flash drive and gave birth to a technological revolution in data storage and transfer.

What is DiskOnKey?

The DiskOnKey was a revolutionary invention that combined two existing technologies: flash memory and the universal serial bus (USB). Flash memory was invented by Toshiba in the mid-eighties and the USB was invented around a decade later.

So in 1999, The Israeli company M-Systems filed a patent application for what they called “the architecture for a USB-based flash disk”. Around the same time, IBM claimed that one of their employees was the original inventor of the USB flash drive.

Neither company actually made it first to the market.

The Singaporean company Trek 2000 International released the ThumbDrive (which is still a nickname for USB flash drives today) in early 2000. IBM and M-Systems would eventually team up to launch the DiskOnKey in the US market that same year.

The timing was perfect.

The humble floppy disk could no longer serve the needs of consumers or professionals. And optical media, such as CDs, were still considered rather impractical because of how long it took to record data onto them.

Features and Benefits of DiskOnKey

The original DiskOnKey could only hold 8MB, which wasn’t anywhere near as much as most CDs. But it had several advantages that made the DiskOnKey an instant hit. It was small, didn’t require any special software, and it could transfer data really fast.

The DiskOnKey wasn’t cheap, however. The original 8MB version retailed at no less than $50, which was a lot more than CD-ROMs. But since it could be used and reused countless times, the cost was quickly recouped by consumers and professionals alike. In addition to that, it was also more durable since it contained no moving parts and didn’t take damage from scratches.

Today, USB flash drives are everywhere. And like most other pieces of technology, their capacity has improved while the prices have gone down significantly. There are now USB flash drives with over 2TB of space, and they can be written and rewritten as many as 100,000 times before they have to be discarded.

Furthermore, advancements in USB technology has also increased data transfer times drastically. Another benefit of the USB flash drives is that they’re compatible with pretty much any device — hence the “universal” part of their name.

That means users can transfer data between Windows, macOS, and Linux operating systems, as well as DVD players, Xbox One consoles, and PlayStation 4 consoles. There are even some handheld devices that work with USB flash drives because of micro-USB technology. And since USB flash drives are powered by the device they’re inserted into, you never have to worry about them running out of battery.

The Legacy of the DiskOnKey

Needless to say, DiskOnKey contributed greatly to the advancement of both professional and consumer technology. And while cloud storage and transfer of data are becoming increasingly more common, USB flash drives are not likely to go away anytime soon. They still invaluable in areas with limited or no Internet connectivity, and can be used to store data you can’t risk being leaked online.

Image courtesy of TIME.

The Engelbart Mouse

The Engelbart Mouse sounds like a rodent species named after a zoologist. But it’s actually named after the inventor of one of the most widespread computer accessories: the mouse.

What is the Engelbart Mouse?

Douglas Engelbart was an American inventor who started working on the concept back in 1963 together with his partner William English. The concept of computer work stations as a tool for solving problems was still a relatively new concept at the time. In order to optimize the work process, users needed a device to move a cursor around the screen.

Engelbart and English developed the first prototype of their device in 1964. It consisted of two metal discs encased in a wooden shell with a button on top. It enabled the user to move the cursor around the computer screen and draw both vertical and horizontal lines.

The original device was described as an “X-Y position indicator for a display system”, which isn’t nearly as catchy as a ”mouse”.

The nickname came about because the device had to be connected to the computer via a chord. The chord originally stuck out the front of the device but was later moved to the back to make it more practical. Since it resembled a mouse, the device was nicknamed as such.

Features and Benefits of the Engelbart Mouse

There were already a few devices available to move cursors around, including joysticks and light pens. Engelbart, however, wanted to find out which of these devices was the most efficient one to get the job done.

So in 1966, he contacted NASA to organize a test to find out. They created a series of tasks and asked volunteers to perform them using the different devices, including the mouse. The tasks were timed, and the findings were clear: the mouse outperformed the other devices by far. One year later, Engelbart applied for a patent but didn’t get it until 1970 because it relied on computer software — and patents weren’t granted for software at the time.

Engelbart and English continued to develop their workstations, however, and that same year they produced the first complete workstation: screen, mouse, and keyboard. It was at this time the casing was made out of plastic, and the chord was moved back to the front of the mouse.

In 1968, the world finally got to see the mouse, along with the rest of the work station in what became known as The Mother of All Demos. Here, Engelbart showcased not only the mouse, but also word processing, emails, teleconferencing, and hypermedia.

The Legacy of the Engelbart Mouse

Interestingly, Engelbart never received a dime for his invention. He received the patent while working for SRI, who licensed it to Apple for $40,000. Although it’s a shame, Englebert already had over 45 patents to his name by the time the mouse was ready.

Engelbart’s invention is still used today, although the cordless mouse was already on the market in 1984. And although Apple has since introduced the tracking pad to laptop users, the mouse is still seen anywhere people are solving problems on workstations. It’s unlikely that it will disappear from our offices and homes anytime soon.

Image courtesy of scihi.org.

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