Dr. Douglas Engelbart was born in Oregon on January 30, 1925. His graduated from Franklin High School in Portland, in 1942. While enrolled in Oregon State University, Engelbart was drafted into the Navy and served two years as a radio Technician. He t hen went back to Oregon State and received a bachelor’s degree in Electrical engineering, in 1948, a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of California at Berkeley in 1952 and a PH. D. from UC Berkeley in 1955.
While Engelbart was a Graduate student at Berkeley, he worked in the California Digital Computer project, CALDIC. He received several small patents during his time working on the CALDIC. While Engelbart was in the Navy, he read the Vannavar Bush article “As We May Think” and was inspired by the article. After he graduated from Berkeley he took a position as Acting Assistant Professor. Engelbart then went on to work for the Stanford Research Institute (SRI). He worked for Hewitt Crane on devices at SRI.
At SRI, Engelbart proved himself with over a dozen patents and was funded to do a report on his proposed research agenda, Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework. This resulted in the creation of the Augmentation Research Center or ARC at SRI. Engelbart and his team developed many computer-interface elements including hypertext, bit-mapped screens, the mouse, collaborative tools, and beginnings of a graphic user interface.
The patent for the very first computer mouse was submitted by Engelbart in 1967 and granted in 1970. Engelbart’s mouse consisted of a wooden shell with metal wheels. He described the mouse as an “X-Y position indicator for a display system”. Engelbart later deemed it a mouse because a tall came out of the end.
Many of Engelbart’s creations including the corded keyboard were used in the creation of ARPNET (the precursor to the internet.) ARPNET was created in two labs; one at UCLA and the other at Engelbart’s Lab at SRI. He believed in a collective exchange of ideas and software. Engelbart acted on these beliefs and used grant money to create the Hyperscope and Hyperword projects that created Ajax, DHTML and Firefox’s Hyperword add-on.
DR. Engelbart has been awarded countless accommodations for his work. His papers and work with computers is studied worldwide.