Douglas Engelbart originally presented an "X-Y position indicator for a display system" back in 1968.

Inventor of PC mouse dies aged 88

The man who invented the first computer mouse – Douglas Engelbart – has passed away aged 88.

His career highlight saw him deliver an hour-long presentation in 1968 to technologists in San Francisco, where he showed off a cubic device with two rolling discs called an "X-Y position indicator for a display system" – also known as the mouse.

The product was actually designed back in 1961 when Engelbart sketched a mouse and asked a colleague, Bill English, to make a prototype out of wood.

Engelbart also produced the image and voice of a colleague some 30 miles away – the first videoconference. And he also explained how pages of information could be joined together using text-based links, paving the way for the internet.

He never received any royalties for the mouse, which was patended by his then employer Stanford Research Institute (SRI) and eventually licensed to Apple.

Engelbart picked accolades including the National Medal of Technology and the Turing Award. 

His eldest daughter, Gerda, said he died of kidney failure on Tuesday night.

"To see the Internet and the World Wide Web become the dominant paradigms in computing is an enormous vindication of his vision," said Mitch Kapor, the founder of Lotus Development Corporation. "It’s almost like Leonardo da Vinci envisioning the helicopter hundreds of years before they could actually be built."

Engelbart is survived by his second wife Karen O’Leary Engelbart and his four children Gerda, Diana, Christina and Norman.

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