The Telefunken Rollkugel is a ball based wheel mouse for a terminal. Telefunken considered the invention too unimportant to apply for a patent on it.
The mouse was described as an optional device for its SIG-100 terminal. It was based on reversing the design of the trackball used with radar systems. The trackball was designed to allow radar operators to select particular radar signals to determine landing order etc.
The original trackball was developed in 1946 and it was patented in 1947. It was kept as a military secret for many years. A joystick was developed for production use.
The Canadian Navy built a crude trackball using a 5-pin bowling ball. It was setup to relay ship information from the radar systems.
This Telefunken Rollkugel mouse is designed for terminals connected to a mainframe. It can evidently also work with radar systems. Air traffic control has spent a vast amount of cash to improve airport radar and safety.
The IBM SAGE (semi automatic ground environment) system is an early radar system and the screenshot shows the level of detail present even in the 1950s. The cold war drove spending on developing radar and computer systems and commercial machines were developed for air traffic and marine applications.
When fully deployed in 1963, SAGE included 23 centers, each with its own AN/FSQ-7 system, which really consisted of two machines (one for backup), both operating in coordination.
The SAGE system introduced the light pen which allowed operators to select objects.
Radar has definitely lead to many amazing new ideas for a user interface. One can only speculate where the process of discovery will lead to next.
The ongoing space race is costing a staggering amount of money which most seem to be unaware of. The Apollo program is definitely where the action is.