Inventor of the first computer mouse died at the age of 91

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William (Bill) English, the man who built the first prototype of the computer mouse, passed away at the age of 91.

After a career in the United States military, English ended up at the Stanford Research Institute. In doing so, he came into contact with Douglas Engelbart, the other co-inventor of the mouse. English built the prototype in 1963 based on Engelbart’s notes.

Wooden bar with red button and two wheels

That first mouse was far from what we know today. It was a wooden tray with one red button and two wheels that registered the movement. In 1965, he also led a NASA-funded project to record the best way to mark a point on a computer screen, with the computer mouse coming out best.

Later, English moved to Xerox PARC and improved the mouse by providing it with a ball instead of wheels. Although there was already a similar model with ball in Germany in the meantime. From 1989 he worked for Sun Microsystems on internationalization.

English passed away on July 26, 2020. According to the New York Times, he died in a California hospital after breathing difficulties.

In collaboration with Datanews

Photo: Wikimedia Commons / Marcin Wichary / CC BY 2.0

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