Engelbart

 

Douglas Carl Engelbart was born on 30th of January, 1925,  lived in Portland Douglas graduated from Portland’s Franklin High School in 1942 and went on to study Electrical Engineering at Oregon State University.

Midway through his college studies at Oregon State University, in 1944 he was drafted into the US Navy, serving two years as a electronic/radar technician in the Philippines. It was there on a small island in a tiny hut up on stilts, that he first read the famous article of Vannevar Bush—”As We May Think“, which greatly inspired him.

He returned to Oregon State and completed his B.S. in Electrical Engineering, Oregon State University in 1948, then received a position as an electrical engineer in NACA Ames Laboratory, Mountain View, CA (now NASA), where he worked until 1951.

However, within three years he grew restless, feeling there was something more important he should be working on, dedicating his career to. He thought about the world’s problems, and what he as an engineer might possibly be able to do about them. He had read about the development of the computer, and even assisted in the construction of the California Digital Computer project (CALDIC), and seriously considered how it might be used to support mankind’s efforts to solve these problems. As a radar technician during the war he had seen how information could be displayed on a screen. He began to envision people sitting in front of displays, “flying around” in an information space where they could formulate and organize their ideas with incredible speed and flexibility. So he applied to the graduate program in Electrical Engineering at U.C. Berkeley to launch his new crusade.

Engelbart obtained a M.S. in Electrical Engineering in 1952, and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering with a specialty in Computers in 1955, along with a half dozen patents in “bi-stable gaseous plasma digital devices”, and then stayed on as Acting Assistant Professor. However, within a year he was tipped off by a colleague that if he kept talking about his “wild ideas” he’d be an Acting Assistant Professor forever. So he ventured back down the Peninsula in search of a more suitable outpost to pursue his vision.

He then formed a startup company, Digital Techniques, to commercialize some of his doctorate research on storage devices, but after a year decided instead to find a venue where he could pursue the research he had been dreaming of since 1951.

In 1959 started the most productive period in the life of Engelbart, as he was appointed as a Director of Augmentation Research Center (ARC) at Stanford Research Institute, position, which he keep until 1977. He recruited a research team (up to 47 people) in his new center, and became the driving force behind the design and development of the On-Line System, or NLS. He and his team developed computer-interface elements such as bit-mapped screens, the first computer mouse, hypertext, collaborative tools, and precursors to the graphical user interface, groupware (inc. shared-screen teleconferencing and computer-supported meeting room), etc.
He initiated ARPANet’s Network Information Center (NIC). On October 29, 1969, the world’s first electronic computer network, the ARPANET, was established between nodes at Leonard Kleinrock’s lab at UCLA and Engelbart’s lab at SRI. Interface Message Processors at both sites served as the backbone of the first Internet.

Engelbart_in_office

 

Engelbart slipped into relative obscurity after 1976 due to various misfortunes and misunderstandings. Several of his best researchers became alienated from him and left his organization for Xerox PARC, in part due to frustration, and in part due to differing views of the future of computing. Engelbart saw the future in collaborative, networked, timeshare (client-server) computers, which younger programmers rejected in favor of the personal computer. The conflict was both technical and social: the younger programmers came from an era where centralized power was highly suspect, and personal computing was just barely on the horizon.
From 1977 until 1984 Engelbart worked as a Senior Scientist in Tymshare, Inc., Cupertino, CA. Tymshare had bought the commercial rights to NLS, renamed itAUGMENT, and set the system up as a principal line of business in their newly formed Office Automation Division.

Engelbart_during_lecture

Douglas Engelbart has over 45 other patents to his name, e.g. seven patents relating to bi-stable gaseous plasma digital devices, resulting from work 1954-58, twelve patents relating to all-magnetic digital devices, resulting from work 1954-58, magnetic-core logic devices and circuits, the patent for the computer mouse from 1970, etc.

Douglas Engelbart is a holder of over forty awards and honors, including the National Medal of Technology, the Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition, the Lemelson-MIT Prize, the IEEE John Von Neumann Medal Award, the ACM Turing Award and the American Ingenuity Award.

 

 

Human Computer Interaction (HCI)

NASA_HCI_ConceptDiagram

The term human computer interaction is often used interchangeably with man machine interaction or interfacing. Descriptively, HCI is often termed as a design that enables the required functionality to be delivered by a computing device in line with its relationship between the user and the device itself.

The Basis of Human Computer Interaction lies in the core concept of usability. It was for the main reason of usefulness for man that machines were created. The best of computing machines are those that interact with individuals in the best possible manner that is required of them. The better the usability of a computing machine is, the better is its interaction with its stakeholders and thus it serves its purpose best. The inputs that a computing machine receives from its users are used to improve the extent of the human computer interaction.

The nature of human computer interaction has taken a new turn with the extensive use of internet and the ever increasing advancements in technology based devices. This new turn is characterized by networks and the social connections that have established via therm.  The ‘social’ nature of human computer interaction emerged when users got connected to each other via networks.

Computer  Mouse

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