We’re sad to bid farewell to Bill English, one of the inventors of the computer mouse. English passed away in California at the age of 91 due to respiratory failure. His collaborator, Douglas Engelbart, was famous for the so-called “Mother of All Demos,” a 1968 presentation that introduced the world to the mouse and other modern computing concepts we now take for granted. Engelbart died in 2013 (see “Computing Pioneer Douglas Engelbart Is Dead,” 3 July 2013).
While Englebart came up with the idea for the mouse, it was English who built it out of wood, electrical switches, and metal wheels in 1963. Neither man became wealthy from their inventions, which were ignored for decades. However, in our opinion, they deserve places in history alongside Edison, Tesla, and Turing, because they defined the direction of human-computer interaction that continues through today.