Input Devices of Computer: Definition, Examples, Images

In the realm of computer interaction with end-users, two pivotal types of devices play a crucial role: Input devices and Output devices. These integral components are fundamental to the computer system.

In this blog, let’s delve into the functionality of input devices and explore some noteworthy examples.

What are input devices?

As their name suggests, these devices send information to the computer system. Once the computer receives the information via an input device, the computer then processes that information via the CPU. The information is then displayed and made available via an output device.

Let us list some necessary input devices:

  • Keyboard
  • Mouse
  • Joy Stick
  • Light pen
  • Track Ball
  • Scanner
  • Graphic Tablet
  • Microphone
  • Magnetic Ink Card Reader (MICR)
  • Optical Character Reader (OCR)
  • Bar Code Reader
  • Optical Mark Reader (OMR)

1. Keyboard

A keyboard is undoubtedly the most popular input device. A lot of the data we input into a computer is done through a keyboard. The main set of keys on a keyboard include:

  • Typing keys – These include the alphabet and digit keys.
  • Numeric Keypad- As its name suggests, it is used to enter numeric data and consists of 17 keys.
  • Function keys – These are a set of 12 keys. Each key has a specific function to perform.
  • Control keys – These are meant for cursor and screen control. Broadly, control keys include the Arrow keys, Home, Insert, Delete, Page Up, Page Down, Control, Alternate, and Escape Keys.
  • Special Purpose Keys – These keys include Enter, Shift, Num Lock, Space Bar, Tab, and Print Screen with a particular function.

2. Mouse

A popular pointing device, it helps control the cursor. It has a left and a right button. The primary purpose of the mouse is to send appropriate signals to the CPU. The first person to whom the creation of a working mouse is credited is Douglas C. Engelbart, in 1963. The original mouse used a rollerball under the mouse’s surface; most optical mice today use a laser.

3. Joystick

C.B. Mirick is credited with inventing the first joystick utilized at the US Naval Research Laboratory. Similar to a mouse, a joystick serves as a pointing device, allowing the movement of a cursor. The joystick can be maneuvered in all directions. Notably, the cursor continues moving toward the joystick unless it is in an upright position, distinguishing its operation from that of a mouse, where the cursor moves with the mouse’s motion. Joysticks find significant applications in areas such as computer-aided design (CAD) and gaming.

4. Trackball

A cursor control device, the trackball, was invented in 1952 by Tom Cranston and Fred Longstaff. It is used in some keyboards as well as older versions of the mouse. Essentially, it has a socket holding a ball with sensors that can detect the ball’s rotation.

5. Scanner

This input device resembles a photocopy machine and is used when transferring information on paper onto the computer. What the scanner does is that it captures the images from the paper and converts them into their digital form.

6. Digitizer

Like a scanner, a digitizer converts analog information into digital. A digitizer can then convert signals from the television or camera. It can convert graphics into binary inputs. A graphic tablet is often used as a digitizer.

7. Microphone

Through this input device, you can input sound into the computer system. Using a microphone, both live audio and pre-recorded audio can be fed into the computer-based recorder. The microphone functions by converting acoustic energy into an electric signal. Its low cost, compact size, and high sensitivity make it advantageous. Additionally, this device can be utilized for dictating text instead of typing it via the keyboard.

8. Magnetic Ink Card Reader (MICR)

You may have encountered this device being used in banks to process cheques. The reader scans both the bank’s code and cheque numbers, ensuring a swift and error-free process.

9. Optical Character Reader (OCR)

An input device, this one is used to read printed text. What it does is scan the text and convert it into machine-readable code. The text is then stored in the system’s memory.

10. Bar Code Readers

You would have seen its use at a supermarket or a mall. A bar code reader reads bar-coded data generally used to label goods. The barcode reader may be a handheld scanner or a stationary one. What it essentially does is that it scans the barcode image and then converts it into an alphanumeric value.

11. Optical Mark Reader (OMR)

In giving certain exams, you may have been told to shade a multiple-choice answer. The answer would then be read with the help of an Optical Mark Reader. Not only would the correction of such answer sheets be quick, but it would be error-free, too.

12. Light Pen

Invented around 1955 as a part of the Whirlwind Project at MIT, a light pen contains a light-sensitive detector. When you point the Light Pen to an object, its light-sensitive tip detects the object and then sends the signals to the CPU. Its use today is limited since it is not compatible with LCD screens.


In Conclusion

There you have it – these were some devices through which the necessary inputs could be passed to your computer. Keep an eye on this space for more information on technology and beyond!

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April 2024