1968 - oNLine System, by SRI's Augmentation Research Center, led by Doug Engelbart

chording keyboard, keyboard, and mouse  Doug Engelbart and the oNLine System

In 1968, Doug Engelbart demonstrated the oNLine System (NLS) which his lab at SRI, the Augmentation Research Center, had created over the previous 10 or so years. "With this group of young computer scientists and electrical engineers, he staged a 90-minute public multimedia demonstration at the Fall Joint Computer Conference in San Francisco. It was the world debut of personal computing when a computer mouse controlled a networked computer system to demonstrate hypertext linking, real-time text editing, multiple windows with flexible view control, cathode display tubes, and shared-screen teleconferencing."[source]

This demo is quite impressive given today's technology, but when you consider that an really great computer in 1968 had an interface like the picture above, then you really begin to see the massive impact that the oNLine System demo had. It was the first system to realize Vannevar Bush's dream of hypertext as well as basically demonstrating what computer interfaces basically look like today.


Doug Engelbart's Bootstrap Institute
Video of the 1968 demo at the Fall Joint Computer Conference
MouseSite, a resource for exploring the history of human computer interaction

Part of the Non-Linear History of New Media Timeline, an ITP class taught by Michael Naimark.

Assembled by Hans-Christoph Steiner