Mouse: Learn the story of this computer accessory

Peripheral is a recurring figure in our daily lives, but few people know how it all started. 

You may even no longer use the mouse on your PC, as notebook options with a trackpad are now quite popular. However, thanks to the genius of those who invented the computer mouse, today we have an essential complementary tool for handling this machine.

Until we got to the trackpad or wireless mouse, a lot needed to evolve. And that takes us back to the 50s. It was approximately 70 years ago that the first embryo of what would become the mouse was a concept. Did you know, for example, that he was born for military purposes? This and much more you will discover now in this article.

How did the idea of ​​the mouse come about?

Remember those graphs where one point on the X-axis and another on the Y-axis was indicated? Because it was to facilitate this type of interaction with the screen that the mouse appeared. In its initial patent, it is described as an “XY position indicator”. That is, it allows the precise indication of a certain point whose reference is the horizontal and vertical axes.

The term mouse was a consequence. Due to its shape, which resembled that of a mouse, with the wire that connected the accessory to the computer playing the role of the “tail”, people started to call it by that name – and the term ended up becoming more popular in the world. then the original “XY position indicator”.

The first prototype of a mouse was born in Canada. At the time, the Canadian Forces Maritime Command, in partnership with technology companies and universities, created a machine that shared sonar and radar data in real-time.

To move the cursor around the screen and indicate a certain point, operators used a kind of bowling ball with a trackball. That little ball that existed inside the oldest mice was nothing more than an adaptation of that first embryo, which was named DACAR.

Based on these prototypes, it was up to Douglas Engelbart, a researcher at the Stanford Research Institute, in the United States, to create the definitive prototype, considered today the “father of mice”. It was a wooden box with a red button on top. This was around 1963, but at the time the product was not very useful.

The era of commercial mice

The first mouse model arrived in stores only in 1970 – and this happened at the hands of the German company Telefunken, which sold the item together with their computers. His name was “Rollkugel”, a term which in direct translation means something like “sliding ball”.

As early as the 1970s, Xerox also included a similar device in their machines. Back in the 80’s it was Apple’s turn to include in its Apple Lisa a mouse with only one button – a standard that remains in the company’s products to this day. From then on, the mouse concept is here to stay and is still present in our lives today.

The first optical mice arrived on the market at the hands of Microsoft. By the way, the company is today a reference in the manufacture of this type of device, since Microsoft’s wireless mice are seen today as one of the products that present the best cost-benefit ratio in its category.

Thanks to an infrared LED, the IntelliEye mouse could be used on any surface – retiring rolling mice. Current models have refined this concept. Thanks to Bluetooth technology, mice have become wireless. Some models have gained extra buttons – there are mice made specifically for gamers that have up to 20 buttons.

The value of a mouse on the market is as varied as possible. There are simpler models, which cost a little less than R$30, and there are models with high technology, whose value can exceed R$1,000. It will all depend, of course, on your pocket and your usage needs.

The fact is that this accessory, created over 50 years ago, is still in its fullest use. Even touch screens haven’t been able to completely replace them – and that’s likely not to happen in the next decade. So, long life for the mouse, one of the most useful and amazing creations the tech world has ever seen.

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