We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
78,131 News Articles

Timeline: 40 years of the computer mouse

The computer mouse celebrates its 40th birthday

The computer mouse celebrates its 40th birthday this month. So we've charted the history of this most indispensible of PC tools, from its humble beginnings at the Stanford Research Institute to its present day ubiquity.

1986
Apple introduces a new way of connecting mice and keyboard - Apple Desktop Bus (ADB) - with the launch of the Apple IIgs, and on the Mac SE a year later. Not surprisingly, Apple releases a new wedge-shaped mouse for the bus called the Apple Desktop Bus Mouse.

1987
IBM introduces the PS/2 line of PCs, which feature the world's first PS/2 mouse connectors. These connectors later become a standard in the PC world.

1991
Logitech releases the world's first wireless mouse to use radio frequency (RF) transmission, the Cordless MouseMan. Unlike infrared (IR) cordless solutions, Logitech's mouse does not require line-of-sight with a base station to work.

1993
Honeywell introduces a unique mouse tracking concept with its Opto-Mechanical mouse. Instead of a rolling ball, the mouse uses two small angled discs on its bottom that track movement.

Apple releases the Apple Desktop Bus Mouse II, which features a more ergonomic teardrop shape than its wedge-shaped predecessor. Otherwise, the mouse is functionally identical.

1995
Mouse Systems releases ProAgio, the first commercial mouse with a scroll wheel. Few people notice.

1996
Microsoft popularises the scroll wheel with the release of the IntelliMouse Explorer. It features a rubberised plastic wheel placed between two standard mouse buttons that can also be pressed as a button. Rotating the wheel allows easy scrolling of windows, among other functions.

1998
The Apple 'hockey puck' mouse ships with the original iMac. Aside from its ergonomically questionable saucer-shaped appearance, this mouse (formally titled Apple USB Mouse) is notable as the first Apple mouse to support the USB peripheral standard. Simultaneously, the iMac marks the beginning of the end of the ADB interface that graced Macs for 11 years.

1999
Agilent develops the first optical mouse sensor that works without need for a special pad, providing a breakthrough for the optical tracking revolution. This LED-based sensor and its successors would later be used in rodents from Microsoft, Logitech, Apple, and dozens of other companies.

Microsoft releases its first optical mouses. The IntelliMouse Explorer with IntelliEye is priced at $70 and features no fewer than five buttons and an optical tracking sensor that doesn't require a special mouse pad. Microsoft also offers a more simple optical mouse for a lower price.

Following Logitech's recent improvements in RF cordless technology, Microsoft releases its first RF wireless mouse, the Cordless Wheel Mouse, marking the beginning of a wireless trend. Other peripheral makers follow suit with a new generation of more accurate and battery-efficient wireless mouses.

NEXT PAGE: The 21st century and beyond

  1. The computer mouse celebrates its 40th birthday
  2. The early eighties
  3. What happened to the mouse in the late eighties
  4. The 21st century and beyond

Visit Business Advisor for the latest business IT news, reviews, tips and tricks - plus sign up for our unique and FREE business IT newsletter


IDG UK Sites

6 cheapest 4K TVs in the UK 2014: Get a UHD telly without breaking the bank

IDG UK Sites

Apple MacBook Air (11-inch, 256GB, Early 2014) lab tests and benchmarks

IDG UK Sites

How to stop your parents opening and responding to phishing emails

IDG UK Sites

Google to ship first Project Ara developer boards in July