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Mouse (computing)

In computing, a mouse (plural mouses, mice, or mouse devices.) is a pointing device

that functions by detecting two-dimensional motion relative to its supporting surface.
Physically, a mouse consists of an object held under one of the user's hands, with one or
more buttons. It sometimes features other elements, such as "wheels", which allow the
user to perform various system-dependent operations, or extra buttons or features can add
more control or dimensional input. The mouse's motion typically translates into the
motion of a pointer on a display, which allows for fine control of a Graphical User

The name mouse, originated at the Stanford Research Institute, derives from the
resemblance of early models (which had a cord attached to the rear part of the device,
suggesting the idea of a tail) to the common mouse.

The first marketed integrated mouse – shipped as a part of a computer and intended for
personal computer navigation – came with the Xerox 8010 Star Information System in
1981. However, the mouse remained relatively obscure until the appearance of the Apple
Macintosh; in 1984 PC columnist John C. Dvorak ironically commented on the release of
this new computer with a mouse: “There is no evidence that people want to use these

A mouse now comes with most computers and many other varieties can be bought

Etymology and plural

The first known publication of the term "mouse" as a pointing device is in Bill English's
1965 publication "Computer-Aided Display Control".

The Compact Oxford English Dictionary (third edition) and the fourth edition of The
American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language endorse both computer mice and
computer mouses as correct plural forms for computer mouse. Some authors of technical
documents may prefer either mouse devices or the more generic pointing devices. The
plural mouses treats mouse as a "headless noun."

Two manuals of style in the computer industry – Sun Technical Publication's Read Me
First: A Style Guide for the Computer Industry and Microsoft Manual of Style for
Technical Publications from Microsoft Press – recommend that technical writers use the
term mouse devices instead of the alternatives.

Early mice
The world's first trackball
Early mouse patents. From
invented by Tom The first
left to right: Opposing track
Cranston, Fred Longstaff computer mouse, A Smaky
wheels by Engelbart, Nov.
and Kenyon Taylor held by inventor mouse, as
1970, U.S. Patent
working on the Royal Douglas invented at the
3,541,541. Ball and wheel
Canadian Navy's DATAR Engelbart, EPFL by Jean-
by Rider, Sept. 1974, U.S.
project in 1952. It used a showing the Daniel Nicoud
Patent 3,835,464. Ball and
standard Canadian five-pin wheels that make and André
two rollers with spring by
bowling ball. It was not contact with the Guignard.
Opocensky, Oct. 1976, U.S.
patented, as it was a secret working surface
Patent 3,987,685.
military project.

Douglas Engelbart at the Stanford Research Institute invented the first mouse prototype
in 1963 with the assistance of his colleague Bill English. Engelbart never received any
royalties for it, as his patent ran out before it became widely used in personal computers.

The invention of the mouse was just a small part of Engelbart's much larger project,
aimed at augmenting human intellect.

Eleven years earlier, the Royal Canadian Navy had invented the trackball using a
Canadian five-pin bowling ball as a user interface for their DATAR system.

Several other experimental pointing-devices developed for Engelbart's oN-Line System

(NLS) exploited different body movements – for example, head-mounted devices
attached to the chin or nose – but ultimately the mouse won out because of its simplicity
and convenience. The first mouse, a bulky device (pictured) used two gear-wheels
perpendicular to each other: the rotation of each wheel translated into motion along one
axis. Engelbart received patent US3541541 on November 17, 1970 for an "X-Y Position
Indicator for a Display System".At the time, Engelbart envisaged that users would hold
the mouse continuously in one hand and type on a five-key chord keyset with the other.[9]
The concept was preceded in the 19th century by the telautograph, which also anticipated
the fax machine.