A rare three-button computer mouse and coding keyset created by Douglas Engelbart, which served as one of Steve Jobs‘ inspirations, has been sold for £147,000 (Rs 1,48,89,174) at a Boston-based RR Auction, around 12 times its estimated value of £12,000.

Engelbart’s invention, which utilised two metal discs on the bottom to locate the position of the cursor, instead of a ball or optical light, was the inspiration for the first rollerball-controlled mouse used by the late Apple CEO. The coding keyset features five keys that allow 31 key-press combinations for typing and entering commands. With this unique hardware setup, users could navigate and click with their right hand on the mouse, while entering commands with their left hand using the keyset.

During a tour of a research facility in 1979, Jobs witnessed the mouse and graphical user interface in action, which he found highly user-friendly. He decided to simplify and incorporate these features into Apple’s computers. To turn the conceptual designs of Engelbart’s mouse patent into a reality, Apple obtained a licence for roughly £33,000 and enlisted the services of the design firm IDEO. The Xerox mice, which cost £245, did not roll smoothly, and Jobs was determined to create a single-button version that cost only £12.

According to Bobby Livingston, executive vice president at RR Auction, Engelbart’s invention played a crucial role in the evolution of computer history and would change the course of modern life.


Q1. What is the significance of the computer mouse created by Douglas Engelbart?
A: The computer mouse created by Douglas Engelbart inspired Steve Jobs’ first rollerball-controlled mouse.

Q2. How much did the rare three-button computer mouse and coding keyset sell for at RR Auction?
A: The rare three-button computer mouse and coding keyset created by Douglas Engelbart sold for £147,000 at RR Auction.

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