Historic Firsts Highlights 0

Doug Engelbart is credited with, among other things, "demon­stra­ting the power and the potential of the computer in the informa­tion age." Most of his epic firsts were in full operational use within his research lab by the mid to late 1960s, through a rapid prototype system called NLS. NLS was continuously evolved, along with his team's processes and thinking, following Doug's innovative design strategy – one of his little known organizational firsts. Their goal? Prototyping the high-performing organizations and teams of the future. For a brief overview, see Story of a True Pioneer. This Gallery of Firsts is part of the Engelbart Archive Collection.

Gallery of Epic Firsts 2

Pioneered by Doug Engelbart and Team

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scan cover of 1962 report on Augmenting Human Intellect
Overarching Vision From Augmenting Human Intellect to Bootstrapping Collective IQ – a powerful framework, a vision for humanity, a manifesto

screenshot Doug 1968 demo Doug's Great Demo The public debut of these firsts and more came to be called the "Mother of All Demos"

Augmenting Tool & Human System, Co-Evolution, Bootstrapping Design Strategy His breakthrough 'bootstrap strategy' accelerated the innovation and continuous improvement, proving revolutionary

photo of Doug in computer supported meeting 1967 Collaborative Meeting support, video conferencing, and other key provisions for online coordination and collaboration

screenshot of Doug 1968 using hypermedia Hyperlinked To easily connect the dots, to link to and zoom in and out of detail, to harness 'new media' in sync with human thought

photo Doug and colleague at work
For Knowledge Work Using computers to compose, study, modify, research, brain­storm, plan, coordinate – toward more effective collective action

photo Doug interacting with computer display using mouse, keyset, headset Personal & Interactive The dawn of interactive and personal computing in a punch-card era

rough diagram of first 4 nodes on ARPAnet includes SRI Networked The first transmission between two sites, first to support online communities, networked information, networked initiatives

photo Doug interacting with computer display using mouse, keyset, headset For Team Work Prototyping the fast, flexible organization of the future, beginning with experimental teams and networked initiatives

photo original mouse The Mouse Learn how and why Doug Engelbart invented the mouse, and its companion 'keyset', with links to more

photo of lead engineer Bill English using NLS NLS / Augment The system that inte­grated and facili­tated all these capa­bil­ities in a unified environ­ment, used exten­sively by the lab and their network

Snapshot demoing software engineering For Engineering strategic use of the sys­tem for team knowl­edge work, includ­ing soft­ware devel­op­ment, by the team devel­op­ing the system

photo keyset device The Keyset To enter commands with one hand while your other hand points and clicks

drawing from Licklider article Impact & Reach From early usage scenarios and rigorous field testing to enduring global impact

photo Doug and team in meeting Human-Centered New processes, paradigms, roles, skills, etc. were also rigorously explored and co-evolved with the tools

Recently we celebrated the 50th Anniversary of THREE great milestones with footage, memorabilia, and fun facts galore! See Doug's Great 1968 Demo, his 1969 Demo Sequel, and Networked for details

MORE FIRSTS: Doug's Demo Sequel (1969, the year following his MOAD).

For a bulleted list of just technological firsts, see A Lifetime Pursuit section on Pioneering Firsts.

See Also 3

  • Visit the Engelbart Archive Collection for historical context, oral histories, archive photos and video, texts, and exhibits.
  • Visit our homepage at dougengelbart.org for the broader context and impact, how Doug's work evolved, and where it goes from here