Believe it or not, although Mouse Systems released the first PC mouse in 1982, our favourite rodents have been around (on workstations) since the 1970s. But it was only with the advent of graphical user interfaces on the PC and Macintosh that mice moved into the mainstream. The GUI, as it now exists, would not have been possible without pointing devices.
For many years manufacturers toyed with different forms of the same technology: a ball or wheel, rolling on a surface, whose movements were translated into co-ordinates on a computer’s display. There were pen-shaped mice and trackballs (basically upside-down mice), as well as all sizes and shapes of “standard” mechanical mice.
In 1980, the first optical mouse, which used LEDs and sensors to detect the motion of the device on special grids, emerged, but it wasn’t until the invention of the modern optical mouse, which required no special mousing surface, in the late 1990s that the devices became commonplace. Laser mice were released by Logitech in 2004.