Dean Hovey on Mouse Team Members

Source: Interview with Dean Hovey, 22 June 2000.

(Ribcage sketch)

Hovey: There were a number of people on the project. I was running it, and had several of the "a-has" on the design. Jim Sachs really worked on the software side, and the optical encoding side of it. Jim Yurchenco and Doug Grundstrom worked on the specifics of the plastic parts-- designing them and putting them all together. Jim Yurchenco designed these marvelous structures to hold everything in place [see drawing], and Doug Grundstrom did the mechanical drafting and getting prototypes built. Douglas Dayton was mainly involved in designing multiple outside shapes of mice-- he must have made 20 of them, showing what the mice might feel like and look like.

See also Sachs on the mouse team and issues regarding the patent.

It was quite a group. I think we tried to reflect that on the patent, in the sense that just as you take an idea and run with it, it's a team that all contributes, and we tried to share the patent because I thought that was the right way to do it.

Bill Lapson was really our contact point at Apple, and was assigned to make sure we were marching down the right path, and he oversaw contracts and that sort of stuff. There was also one point where we actually did some math around the friction points, and he helped us with that. We were also for a while heading down this steel textured ball path, and we had rollers that were made of foam, which I was sort of fixated on for some reason, and he convinced me that those should be hard, as opposed to soft. In my mind, there were contributions that Bill made in those conversations that made a difference.

Lapson is author of "Lore of the Mice," a valuable 1982 overview of the project. See also Yurchenco and Sun on roller design.

But he was the inside guy who made sure the trains were running, and gave us input as he saw fit.

Pang: I get the sense that on a day-to-day level, Apple wasn't trying to micromanage what you guys were doing.

Hovey: I felt like we were pushing it more than we were. Bill was working on other things at the same time-- heat studies, and hard drives for Lisa-- he had a number of things he had to do. It was absolutely driven by Hovey-Kelley and our passion around it. We had gotten engaged, and there was no stopping us from trying to make things happen. It was more us pushing for the next purchase order, and getting the okay to do the next prototype, than them wondering what we were doing.

See also Yurchenco and Sun on Apple's involvement.


Document created on 10 July 2000;