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How You Funded Some of the World's Greatest Technologies, Including Fruit Ninja

By Jordan Robertson - 2014-04-01T16:13:22Z

Photograph by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Company Symbol % Change
Alphabet Inc GOOG:US -0.10
Apple Inc AAPL:US 0.31
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The Mouse

It seems fitting that DARPA, which helped give birth to the Internet, is also the same agency that supported the creation of the device to help us navigate the online world: the computer mouse.

At the Augmentation Research Center, which was funded by DARPA, Douglas Engelbart was tasked with inventing a "screen selection" device. So he, along with Bill English, built a computer mouse in the 1960s using a block of wood with mounted wheels. The first incarnation may not have looked like much, but we're happy his team didn't pursue the alternative: a knee-operated mouse.

Related: Innovation Myths and the Unsexy Truths About Breakthroughs