- 3000 B.C. - The abacus is invented in Babylonia
- About 1300 - the wire-and-bead abacus replaces the Chinese calculating rods.
- 1642-1643 - Blaise Pascal creates the first mechanical adding machine.
- 1801 - Punch cards control weaving patterns in Joseph-Marie Jacquart's loom.
- 1829 - The first writing machine in America, an awkward by useable typewriter, is patented by William Austin Burt.
- 1901 - The keypunch appears and stays around for the next half century.
- 1920-1921 - Karel Capek's play, RUR, includes the first use of the word "robot."
- 1931 - The first scantron device is invented by Reynold B. Johnson.
- 1936 - Konrad Zuse files a patent for the idea of the automatic execution of calculations (i.e., computer programs).
- 1949 - John Mauchly developed Short Order Code, generally accepted as the first high-level programming language.
- 1951 - Maurice Wilkes begins the idea of micro-programming, which makes designing a computer system's control section much easier.
- 1953 - The IBM 650 becomes the first mass-produced computer.
- 1956 - A meeting at Dartmouth College, lead by John McCarthy and Marvin Minsky, creates the concept of AI.
- 1957 - John McCarthy forms MIT's AI Department.
- 1958 - The Whirlwind project begins to work on an air traffic control system.
- 1958 - Bell develops the modem data phone.
- 1959 - GE invents a machine to electronically process checks.
- 1960 - DEC releases the PDP-1. which is the first commercial computer with a monitor and keyboard input.
- 1961 - Fernando Corbato develops time sharing.
- 1962 - Stanford and Purdue begin the first two departments of computer science.
- 1962 - The first video game is invented at MIT by Steve Russell.
- 1963 - Ivan Sutherland introduces Sketchpad, leading to the consolidation fo computer graphics.
- 1964 - IBM develops a compute-aided design system.
- 1964 - Doug Engelbart invents the mouse.
- 1969 - The first four nodes of the Arpanet become operational.
- 1970 - Xerox PARC is established.
- 1972 - Word processing systems are introduced by Wang, VYDEC and Lexitron.
- 1973 - Xerox PARC develops its Alto, a PC with a mouse, Ethernet, and GUI.
- 1974 - The first WYSIWYG application, Bravo, is writen by Charles Simonyi at Xerox PARC.
- 1977 - The Tandy and Commodore PCs come with built-in monitors and thus do not require the presence of a TV.
- 1980 - IBM selects PC-DOS from Microsoft as the operating system for its new PC.
- 1981 - Xerox PARC's Star GUI has clickable icons and windows.
- 1983 - Apple releases its first GUI, complete with pulldown windows.
- 1985 - Microsoft releases Windows 1.0, implementing many of the features of the Mac OS.
- 1990 - Microsoft releases Windows 3.0, which spawns a legal dispute with Apple over the similarities between the two operating systems.
- 1990 - The protocol for the world wide web is written by Berners-Lee.
- 1993 - Apple's Newton, the first popular digital assistant, is released.
- 1995 - Windows 95 is released.
- 2000 - Windows 2000 is released.
- 2001 and beyond - Both Microsoft and Apple are working on newer and better interface designs in their operating systems.
Origins of Common Interaction Devices
Probably the most obvious, and widespread, personal computer user interfaces today are the mouse, keyboard, and graphical user interface (GUI).
The mouse was invented in 1964 by Doug Engelbart. It wasn't really coupled with a PC, however, until 1973 when it was released along with Xerox's Alto computer. Although the PARC wasn't immediately successful, since then the mouse has been a standard of the human-computer interface.
The QWERTY keyboard first came into the public eye in 1872 on an ackward machine called the "Type-Writer." The actual letters on the keyboard were designed so that the most popular letter combinations - such as 'TH' and 'QU' - were not next to each other. This prevented the typewriter from getting clogged and stuck. Although Professor August Dvorak of Washington State University invented a more user-friendly configuration, called the Dvorak keyboard, in 1932, the QWERTY keyboard was already standard practice. With the first word processing systems in 1972, and with the release of the Alto PC in 1975, the QWERTY keyboard was firmly established in the technological world that it still inhabits.
The Dvorak Keyboard Configuration
The graphical user interface came into being in the 1970s. The Xerox Alto in 1973 included a graphics display, but the first real visual interface wasn't fully developed until 1981 with the Xerox Star: it included double-clickable icons and windows. Apple then released the first truly successful GUI in 1983. This spawned the GUIs that we see today.
HCI in Academia
Human-Computer Interaction as a academic field has also evolved greatly in the past few decades. In the 1960s and 1970s, the subject consisted mostly of computer graphics, ergonomics, industrial engineering, and cognitive psychology. There was no real HCI specialization offered; instead, HCI was presented as a topic within other courses. Teaching material was mostly teacher-driven, with little overlap between the many different aspects of HCI.
In the 1980s, HCI expanded to include different applications in social sciences, anthropology, and linguistics. Individual classes in HCI began to be offered, and specialization began. Books on the topic became more numerous. From 1990 to 1995, HCI began to focus more in graphic design and communications. Specialization continued to grow, but different sub-fields began to fragment off as HCI gained more breadth. As the demand for HCI training increased (especially for graduates), HCI educators networked their resources, and more books and modules on HCI came out.
Recently, HCI has integrated into computer science and psychology at the undergraduate level. The emphasis is mostly on graphic and industrial design. Research has also increased.
Hiltzik, Michael. Dealers of Lightning.