In Pictures: The Mother of All Demos - The 1968 presentation that sparked a tech revolution

On December 9, 1968, Dr. Douglas Engelbart addressed a packed theater at the Joint Computer Conference in San Francisco, demonstrating a new computing platform that heralded advancements from the computer mouse to videoconferencing. Forty-five years later, we're still reaping the benefits of his vision.

Videoconferencing It was brilliant showmanship to project members of the NLS team (including Jeff Rulifson, shown here) on a huge screen in San Francisco when they were actually sitting at terminals 30 miles away. That gimmick captured the imagination of businesspeople (and a healthy chunk of their budgets) for decades.

What cost thousands of 1960s dollars to create can now be done, up to a point, using free tools like FaceTime and Yahoo Chat. Services such as Skype Premium, Google Hangouts and GoToMeeting add multipoint video chat and shared collaborative screens for meetings, webinars and training sessions. And to recapture the wow factor of the Mother of All Demos, pricey wall-sized telepresence displays make you feel like you're really in the same room with other attendees.

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