Information Age landmark: One billionth mouse produced

Information Age landmark: One billionth mouse produced

Summary: Logitech, maker of many mice, has hailed as a major landmark the production of their one billionth computer mouse, which rolled off production lines late last month.The first mouse was created on December 9, 1968 when Douglas C.

TOPICS: Hardware

Logitech MX RevolutionLogitech, maker of many mice, has hailed as a major landmark the production of their one billionth computer mouse, which rolled off production lines late last month.

The first mouse was created on December 9, 1968 when Douglas C. Engelbart and his group of researchers at Stanford University put the first mouse through its paces.

"It's rare in human history that a billionth of anything has been shipped by one company," said Logitech's general manager Rory Dooley in an article by the BBC. "Look at any other industry and it has never happened. This is a significant milestone."

But lately, the traditional mouse's days seems numbered.

Gartner analyst Steve Prentice weighed in:

"The mouse will no longer be mainstream in three to five years...the world has changed and the nature of machines has changed. The multi-touch interface I believe really does seal the coffin of the mouse."

First mouse (BBC)Dooley said those technologies are just icing on the mouse's cake:

"The fundamental functionality of the mouse has not changed for 40 years and that is one of the keys to its success. We do not envisage unlearning all those years of learning but that doesn't mean to say there will not be a place for touch interfaces. Touch will augment the things you can do today with the mouse and keyboard interface."

What do you think, readers? With the increased use of laptops as desktops, are mice endangered by touchpads, touchscreens and accelerometer-equipped devices? Tell us your mousey stories in TalkBack.

Topic: Hardware

Andrew Nusca

About Andrew Nusca

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. During his tenure, he was the editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation.

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  • Touchscreens will supplement the mouse, not replace it

    The touchscreen's main downfall is that you have to switch the dimension of your hand from horizontal to vertical when you switch from typing to touching. Also the farther away the keyboard is from the monitor the more awkward this becomes. Also the act of selecting and clicking is more natural for a mouse, and there's a bit or error-proofing because you don't just point, you point then click, so there's less danger of pointing at the wrong thing. I certainly wouldn't want to use a touchscreen when I approve a purchase, and I'd want to use it even less if I were to decline a purchase, because hitting the wrong button can be expensive.
    Michael Kelly
    • and to add to that...

      ...the touch clicking experiment of the BlackBerry Storm does not seem to be a hit. It ends up being a bit counterintuitive but maybe it just takes some getting used to.
  • I agree with Micheal... but i think direct brain control will be...

    the tech that replaces the mouse.

    A quick external device that reads brain waves and pulls the information directly from your head as you give it... that will replace the mouse easily. Look at pilots that use their eyes to select targets. Its not the same type of tech, but its in the tree that will replace mice.

    BTW: Someone tell this guy.... They made 1billion speakers, paper clips, sheets of paper, pencils, pens, necklaces, car/trucks, chairs, phones, cell phones, clip etc etc etc..
  • RE: Information Age landmark: One billionth mouse produced

    Direct brain interfaces are definitely the 'holy grail' of man-computer interaction technology, and have already been proven to work. I tried but can't find the article now, but there has been an experiment that successfully allowed a user to direct a mouse pointer with nothing but thought.

    But, the issue here is the technological infrastructure that would be required to make something like the above mainstream. I mean, we are talking about hard-wiring peoples brains! How many people will willingly go through such a procedure when the technology is so infantile. If a method is developed where external sensors are able to pick up and interpret brain activity, this would eliminate some of the barrier for sure.

    But you did mention something interesting about the auto targeting technology used by pilots. This will absolutely be the first true replacement to the mouse. The technology is there and mature - it just needs to become cheap enough for the mainstream consumer. I imagine it will consist of little more then a camera that is able to track where the user's eyes are, where each is looking and from that, triangulate the focus of the user. However, how does one click in such scenarios? Maybe a double blink? Or a wink? Lol. It will take some creativity to come up with a system that is intuitive, but it is non the less and exciting development.

    "The views expressed here are mine and do not reflect the official opinion of my employer or the organization through which the Internet was accessed."
  • Dirty Fingers Will Never Go Away

    How often do iPhone users need to clean their screens? A lot more often than I need to clean my mouse, especially now with optical instead of rollerball mice.

    If touchpads were going to replace mice, they would have done it a long time ago. Anyone here NOT have a mouse for their laptop that they use whenever they're at a desk or table?

    Gartner seems to be a lot more concerned with cool or cutting edge lately than practical or human factors.
  • Ain't dead yet

    I think the whole coolness factor of touch screens and
    multitouch is clouding people's judgment. Yes, they're
    cool, yes you can do some really nifty things that
    just aren't possible with a mouse.

    But when you really think about it, there are some
    really key advantages a mouse still has over touch
    screens, many of which have been said before (dirty
    screens anyone?). The point I want to make is with
    usability and stress.

    In a workplace obsessed with repetitive stress injury
    and carpal tunnel syndrome, do we really anticipate
    touching our screens all that often to get work done?
    The beauty of the mouse is in its DISconnectedness
    with the monitor, not vice versa. We can hold
    something comfortably on our desktop while looking
    straight ahead at what it is being controlled. When
    you think about it, that's actually an incredible

    Sure you could move the touch screen onto your lap or
    put it flat on your desktop, but now we're talking
    about neck strain at looking downwards for long
    periods of time.

    So don't count the mouse dead until you can cover
    those bases too. ;)