The Auditorium, Brooks Hall, in the city of San Francisco has been closed since 1993.

Nothing reminds you that here, 50 years ago, a milestone in the Computer history. Long before the first Personal Computer came on the market, demonstrated on 9. December 1968, inventor Douglas C. Engelbart for the first time a computer mouse. There were then but about ten years before the mouse, with the Apple Macintosh was for a mass audience available.

Engelbart had been busy before the big presentation in front of about 1000 computer professionals in San Francisco for many years, with the design of a device that allows the interaction between a human and a tube-screen. Computers were so expensive that only universities, large companies and the military can afford large computing cabinets. And they were incredibly complicated to use: to use with the machine to communicate, you had to type in long command sequences or pre-perforated strips, punched commands read.

In the Vision of Engelbart should appear icons on the screen that you control with a pointer, and it can activate. In 1962, the former Navy radar technician at the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) published in Menlo Park, a scientific paper under the title “Augmenting the Human Intellect: A conceptual framework” (extension of the human intellect: A basic concept).

Two years later, Engelbart built together with his chief engineer, Bill English, the first mouse prototype. This the original mouse that was housed in a wooden Cabinet, containing a wheel which implemented the movement of the device into cursor movement on the screen. An employee in angel’s lab said, the wooden box can see the red button on top and the cable in the back like a mouse. The Name stuck.

It then took up to 9. December 1968, to Engelbart, the concept presented to the Public. The 90-minute Live presentation at the “fall Joint Conference”, which has remained in a Video for posterity, as the “mother of all Demos” in the story.

Engelbart, has led to the use of a mouse moving on a screen with a black dot. “In our Vision we assumed that people will use for the solution of problems in computer-based workstations,” said Engelbart 30 years later in an Interview. “These stations require that you could control with the help of a device, a Cursor and the information on the screen.” He had tried, on behalf of the space Agency, Nasa, various devices, including a light pen, and joystick. “It quickly turned out that the mouse worked better than all the others.”

it is Almost forgotten that in this period of time also in Germany the concept of a computer mouse. For the Bundesanstalt für Flugsicherung (BFS) in Frankfurt, a Department of the electro-pioneer Telefunken in Konstanz, has developed a System where a pointer was required. A “trackball control” should enable air traffic controllers to mark on a large Radar screen representations of aircraft positions. A few weeks before the Demo in San Francisco presented Telefunken concept.

Engelbart had the idea so not alone. However, in contrast to the German, his employer SRI the invention, in 1970 as an “X-Y position indicator control for movement by Hand over any surface to move a position indicator on the screen in” under the number 3,541,541 as a Patent.

A success in the mass market could then celebrate but neither Telefunken the Team in California. Close Bart’s Customer, Nasa could start with the first mouse, not much, because soon it was clear that his mouse could not be applied in the absence of gravity. And Telefunken the “trackball control, built” in its mainframe TR440, but this computer someone got cabinets. The big computers cost up to 15 million D-Mark, and were in small numbers by the German Federal office for air traffic control and other authorities.

The concept of the computer mouse disappeared for some years in obscurity, was then taken up by the legendary California research center, Xerox Parc, where a graphical user interface for the Computer, the Xerox Alto was developed. But also this computer was for a mass audience much too expensive. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs saw the Alto in 1979 and took over the concept of graphical user interface. Apple’s “Lisa” was the first Computer that was designed for the mouse. With the Macintosh, the mouse reached in 1984 with the breakthrough. This success impressed again, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, so much so that he passed from the command line of MS-DOS and following the example of the Apple Macintosh, the mouse and Icon as the default in Windows.

The Engelbart developed the computer mouse has with today’s mice little in common. The first mouse prototype had instead of a ball, a wheel for the cursor movements. In the seventies, the Swiss Jean-Daniel Nicoud, adapted the concept by replacing the resistors in angel Barts mouse with optical sensor – and thus the Foundation stone for the business success of the company Logitech. Today’s computer mice work mostly with laser diodes, which are based on infrared technology.

As an input tool, the mouse will be obsolete but in the meantime, from the human Finger. On billions of Smartphones and tablet computers will be wiped without using the mouse and typing. And in the future, the human language could be, in turn, to become the most popular method Dialog between man and machine.

Douglas C. Engelbart has noticed this time. He died on the 2. July 2013 at the age of 88 in Atherton (California).