Douglas Engelbart

National Medal of Technology and Innovation

Computer Science

For creating the foundations of personal computing including continuous, real-time interaction based on cathode-ray tube displays and the mouse, hypertext linking, text editing, on-line journals, shared-screen teleconferencing, and remote collaborative work. More than any other person, he created the personal computing component of the computer revolution.

For creating the foundations of personal computing including continuous, real-time interaction based on cathode-ray tube displays and the mouse, hypertext linking, text editing, on-line journals, shared-screen teleconferencing, and remote collaborative work. More than any other person, he created the personal computing component of the computer revolution.

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Birth
January 30, 1925
Age Awarded
75
Country of Birth
USA
Key Contributions
Computer Mouse
Personal Computing
Awarded by
Bill Clinton
Education
University of California, Berkeley
Oregon State University
Areas of Impact
Communication & Information
Affiliations
Bootstrap Institute
Other Prizes
National Inventors Hall of Fame
Lemelson-MIT Prize
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Doug Engelbart is the man behind some of the computer’s most recognizable features — the mouse, the hyperlink, video teleconferencing — but his roots are rural. Growing up on a small farm outside Portland, Ore., Engelbart was light years away from any technological revolution, instead channeling his creative energy into more innocent endeavors, like tearing apart gunny sacks to weave his own tree-climbing rope.

After obtaining his Ph.D. and half a dozen patents from Berkeley in 1955, Engelbart eventually established his own lab, the Augmentation Research Center (ARC). His pioneering vision and his belief in the force of “collective IQ” alienated some partners, but attracted others like the Dept. of Defense, which selected Engelbart’s lab as one of the 13 original colonies of the all-important ARPANET — the precursor to the internet.

In 1968, Engelbart exhibited the “mother of all demos” to a thrilled audience at a national computer conference, debuting the mouse, hypermedia and video conferencing all at once. Because of inventions like these, Engelbart is often remembered as the person who personalized the computer.

By Lauren Clason

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