Doug Engelbart

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Doug Engelbart

Douglas Carl Engelbart (Portland, Oregon, January 30, 1925 – Atherton, California, July 2, 2013) was an American inventor, descendant of Norwegians. He is known for inventing the mouse, and was a pioneer of human interaction with computers, including hypertext and networked computers, and his vision helped Xerox PARC engineers finally arrive at a better mouse design. the Xerox Alto, the first personal computer with graphic interface.

Engelbart received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Oregon State University in 1948, a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Berkeley University in 1952, and a doctorate from UC Berkeley in 1955.

In the fall of 1968, at a conference of computer experts, Doug Engelbart gave a presentation that lasted 90 minutes. In addition to making the first public demonstration of the mouse, it included an on-screen connection with its research center, that is, it was the first video-conference in history and is remembered with the title of “the mother of all the demos”. < / p>

Doug_Engelbart’s Biography

As a radar operator in the Philippines during World War II, Engelbart was inspired by Vannevar Bush an article, As We May Think, to find ways to use computers to improve society. When the war ended, and following this idea, Engelbart resigned his job as an engineer and went to study at UC Berkeley.


In 1957 he became a researcher at the Stanford Research Institute and in 1959 rose to the position of Director of the Augmentation Research Center, that he founded. In 1962 Engelbart, with funding from the United States Air Force in North America, published his work “Augmenting human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework” (Increasing human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework) we considered that organizations had a capacity to solve problems that depend on genetic characteristics of human and technical elements and non-technical. , such as language, customs, tools and procedures; these developed slowly, over centuries, but digital electronic technology was growing explosively. The proposal considered that the collective intellect would increase if the evolution of the different technical and non-technical elements was accelerated to take advantage of the new technology In 1962 Engelbart met with J.C.R. Licklider, who had published a paper entitled “Symbiosis Man-Computer” and then held the post of Director of ARPA (Agency Advanced Research Projects) and had undertaken to promote the development of advanced technologies to improve the relationship between man and computers. Licklider agreed to fund the work of Engelbart. During the following years the team led by Engelbart was dedicated to creating the necessary technology to improve the way we work with computers and increase the human intellect. He was the driving force behind the design of the first online system, O-Line System (NLS), at the Stanford Research Institute. Together with his team at the Augmentation Research Center he developed several basic elements of the human interface of current computers, such as screens with bit images, multiple windows, and multi-user software. He was also the co-inventor of the mouse, from which he never received royalties.


Doug Engelbart with René Sommer, considered one of the co-inventors of the modern mouse.

When ARPA created a network to link the different associated laboratories, the Engelbart Research Center was the second node that joined the one that was the precursor of the Internet.

His radical ideas did not have the acceptance he expected, and he lost budget for his research. In 1978 the laboratory was closed due to lack of funds, although the NLS system and its successor, Augment, were sold to Tymshare, a company that was later purchased by McDonnell Douglas. Part of his team went to the Xerox PARC research center, where they continued to develop the mouse and developed the graphical interface.

In 1988 Engelbart and his daughter, Christina, founded the Bootstrap Institute, an entity that would advise companies on how to use technology to achieve better organization. Two decades later the entity changed its name to the Doug Engelbart Institute.

Engelbart died on Tuesday, July 2, 2013 at his home in Atherton, California, from kidney failure.

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