William English, the engineer behind the modern computer mouse first demonstrated in 1968, has died at 91.

It might seem like ancient history now that mice are the de facto input device for desktop PCs, but it wasn’t always so easy to navigate the first wave of computers. Every move was a slog of shifting through slow input devices, such as punch cards and printouts—until William English, known to most as Bill, and Douglas Engelbart came up with a brand new invention: the computer mouse.

English worked at the SRI International’s Augmentation Research Centre (ARC) under Engelbart, and was responsible for developing new innovative ways that people could interact with computers and technology.

(Image credit: SRI International, Wikimedia, resized 1920×1080, CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en))

The original mouse, as built by Bill English in the mid-’60s, was merely a pinewood block, a crude button, and a connector that’s long been lost to the annals of history. It contained two potentiometers, components that could track the movement of two small wheels as a user moved the device. It doesn’t look like much, but it would kickstart an invention that would soon sweep the globe during the computing explosion of the late ’90s.

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