2018 is the year in which the “mouse”, known in Spain as a computer mouse, a daily companion for millions of people, turns half a century. Incredible as it may seem, it was the year 1968 that he was publicly baptized, when Dr. Douglas Engelbart presented him in California.
The birth of the mouse
A year earlier, Engelbart had devised a pointing device for computers that was used with the hand in such a way that the movement that it marked would be transferred to the screen. Engelbart at that time was an electrical engineer from the University of Oregon and Belkeley, and worked with a large group of researchers from the Stanford Research Institute, in California, as he could not be otherwise.
It wasn’t until a year later that the final product was made public. In 1968 at the Autumn Computer Conference in California, engineer Engelbart presented it to the public. It was made of wood, two metal wheels and a single button known as “XY Position Indicator for a Display System”. At said conference, Engelbart even made a connection to his research center, one of the first videoconferences in history. She has been dubbed ” The mother of all demos “:
Xerox’s Big Bet
The first company that dared to market it was Xerox, which more than a decade later was also the first to present the first computer that included a mouse. It was called the Xerox Star 8010 and it was a true pioneer because it created a school. Other models appeared in a very short time until Apple turned to Xerox to include it in its designs in what was a definitive step for the success of the mouse when the Macintosh 128K was released in 1984. Steve Jobs’s company decidedly bet on the mouse and as usual they were not wrong because the concept was consolidated to such an extent that it is still valid today. Not even touch screens have been able to unseat him, at least not to date.
But not only Apple realized that this gadget was going to be a success in the future, since Microsoft thought the same and, with the arrival of the PC, the “mouse” definitely conquered the world of computers.
Maybe you no longer remember when you learned to use it or what was the first time, especially if you are young. But if your ID already has a few decades of history, surely you remember games like Minesweeper or the mythical Windows Solitaire, right? They were games developed by Bill Gates’s company precisely to teach how to use the mouse.
The memory that changed everything
Curiously, 1968 was not the year in which the mouse was released exclusively, but another enormous advance in the world of technology took place with the arrival of DRAM, dynamic memory, which differs from static memory, on the market. SRAM, is that it needs the data to be rewritten from time to time. In this case, it was Robert Dennard, who worked for neither more nor less than IBM, the person who invented this memory that changed the way computers work forever.
For 50 years, the instructions and data that a computer needs to function correctly have been stored in the form of zeros and ones, which are equivalent respectively to the absence and presence of charge, in cell arrays of this type of DRAM memory. In turn, these cells are made up of a transistor and a capacitor so that each bit of information is stored as an electrical charge in it. The capacitor stores the charge and the transistor is to access it, which contains the information.
Dennard began a career modestly at IBM as a plant engineer in the Research Division of the North American company, but he soon stood out until he ended up requesting this invention in 1967, which took a definitive step when Dennard himself presented his other great invention in 1974. , MOS technology, which was decisive in the process of technological miniaturization, key in the brilliant development of the sector.