Doug Engelbart was born in 1925, in Oregon. It was very sad that his father passed away when Doug was only nine years old. The other bad thing was that the money in the family went low. So he had an okay childhood. He did go to school and was a good student. After he went to high school, he started to study electrical engineering at the University of Oregon. He only stayed there for two years, and then he signed up for the Navy. This was not one of the best times to sign up, because the USA was in World War II. The good part is right when he left San Francisco, Japan
surrendered from the battle.
During his time in the Navy, only two good things happened to him. One thing is he served as a radar technician, which helped him gain experience with how information could be could be communicated directly, electronically, and on a screen. The second important thing is when Doug was working in the Philippines, he came across a copy of Life magazine. He read Vannevar Bush’s essay, “ As we May think,” which talked about the personal computer [as well as something like the world wide web]. These things will help him, because in a couple years he would invent the mouse.
After the war he finished his degree, and he moved to the San Francisco Bay area to work at Ames. Within a couple of years, his work got less and less exciting. One reason was the closest computer was somewhere on the East Coast. Then he asked Ballard to marry him. So he left Ames and attended theUniversity of California and received a Ph.D., and taught there for a year. His friend told him that if he continued on his path right now, he would be an acting associate professor forever. So, Doug contacted Dean of the school of engineering at Stanford. He said he couldn’t go. So then it flashed to him that if he could do something to improve human capability, then he’d really needed to make something basic.
He joined the Stanford Research Institute (SRI), an independent thinking tank in Menlo Park. In 1963, he published a paper called “A Conceptual Framework for the Augmentation of a Man Intellect.” It caught the eye of the US A dvance Research Projects Agency, and was able to found the research center at SRI. Then, he made the writing machine. It was the first word processor. In 1967, he made the mouse. He got SRI to patent it, but they did not know how important it was. So the next thing he knew was that SRI had licensed it to Apple for only $40,000! If they hadn’t done that Doug would have been wealthy. Sadly, it did not become used until years later. Now in the 90’s, it became the mouse we all know.
Doug continus to invents today. He is the director of Bootstrap Institute, his own company. Here he continues to manufacture mice and other technologies.