A computer in itself is an empty metal box. What makes it truly functional and useful are the input and output devices of the computer. These parts are assembled, and work in sync to make a computer what it truly is. The components of the computer can be largely classified under-
- Input unit
- Memory unit
- Processing unit
- Output unit
In this article, we will discuss the input and output unit and its devices deeply.
Table of Contents
Input Devices of Computer
What is an Input Device?
An input device is any hardware component that allows a user to enter data and instructions into a computer or other device.
Functions of an Input Device
The 3 major functions of the input unit are-
- Take the data to be processed from the user
- Convert the given data into machine-readable form.
- Transmit the converted data into the main memory of the computer.
Examples of Input Devices
Let us discuss the different computer input devices in detail.
The keyboard is an input device that is used to type and feed the data into the computer. The data can be in words, numbers, and symbols. It consists of mechanical buttons called the ‘keys’.
There are 5 different keys on the keyboard-
2. Numerical keys from 0-9.
3. There are 12 function keys on the top of the keyboard F1-F12. Each of which performs a special function.
4. There are control keys, which help in gaining control of the screen and the keyboard. These include 4 direction keys, home, end, delete, page-up, page-down, control(ctrl), alternate(alt), escape(ESC).
5. Then there are special keys which by the name you can figure, are used for special tasks. These include a print screen(PrtScr), Spacebar, Tab, Num Lock, shift, enter, and caps lock.
The mouse is the input device that is used to coordinate the pointer on the screen. The mouse is used to select, point, and display additional menus on the screen. It has typically two buttons. The left button is used to select or move items on the screen. The right button is used to display additional dropdowns.
The mouse is mainly classified as mechanical and optical. The mechanical mouse consists of a trackball beneath it, and is no longer in use. The optical mouse uses laser light for pointing and has more accuracy and speed than the mechanical one.
The microphone is an input device used to feed audio in the computer. The microphone can be used for several purposes like-
- Chatting online
- Used to feed audio for presentations
- Used for VoIP(Voice Over Internet Protocol)
- For voice recognition system
- Record audio for different purposes
Microphones are a kind of transducer, as they convert mechanical energy to electrical energy(AC voltages). Let us understand its working
The barcode reader is a type of optical scanner that is used to read barcodes and decode the data stored in them and send it to the computer. Just like a scanner this also consists of a light emitter, a series of lenses, and a photosensitive device installed inside it. In addition to this is a decoding circuitry attached to decode the barcodes. The working is the same as that of the flatbed scanner.
Output Devices of Computer
A computer is an electronic device that is used to store, display and manipulate data given by the user. A computer can only work when all its components – input unit, output unit, storage unit, and processing unit work together in sync. Here we will talk about the output unit and its devices.
What is an Output Device?
The output devices are used to convert the computer produced output into human-readable form. The output device takes information from the computer and presents it in the form of projection, display, or on paper.
Difference between Input and Output Devices
Input devices – The computer input devices convert the data entered by the user into binary language and sends it to the computer to process it. For example, keyboard, mouse, scanners, etc.
Output devices – The output devices are peripheral devices that are used to convert the output processed by the computer into human-readable form. These devices either display the output on the screen, print on paper or through any other form. Examples: printer, monitor, projector, headphones, etc.
Examples of Output Devices of Computer
Let us look at some of the output devices one by one.
The monitor is an output device that displays the output in the form of images on a digital screen. The images formed are made up of millions of tiny dots called pixels. The more pixels, the better resolution of the image is.
Earlier monitors had screens made of CRT, but are now replaced by flat panel displays. Let us understand how both are different from each other-
CRT – The CRT or cathode ray tube is the structure behind the screen. That helps to display characters and images on the monitor. the display side consists of a phosphorescent screen. The screen lights up when a beam of electrons hits the screen from the cathode filament. The electrons are deflected and accelerated and that is how the images are formed on the screen.
However, the CRT based monitors have their disadvantages, which include-
- They require a large space due to the presence of a vacuum tube of the CRT.
- They consume high power because of the heating of the cathode filament to release electrons.
Due to these drawbacks, flat panel displays came into the picture.
Flat-panel display – The flat panel displays are much lighter, thinner, and consume less power than the traditional CRT monitors. They are wearable like digital wristwatches and are portable like laptops or calculators. This gave the flat panel displays an upper hand to CRTs. They are broadly divided into-
- Emissive Display – The LEDs and plasma panel displays are a few examples of emissive displays, as in these the electrical energy gets converted into light energy.
- Non-emissive Display: the LCDs are non-emissive displays, as optical effects are used to convert light sources like sunlight to images.
Printers are another peripheral device used as output devices. The output from the computer is achieved on paper from the printer. The data gets printed on paper which can be both coloured or black and white, an image, text, or even both.
The printer can be majorly divided into two types-
- Impact printers – These printers work by having direct contact with the ink ribbon and paper. Due to this, the noise produced by these printers resembles that of a type-writer.
- Non-Impact printers – These printers work with technologies like inkjet, laser, electrostatic, xerographic, etc. These printers work silently and are much faster than the impact ones.
The projector is connected to the computer using HDMI cables or VGA cables. The output from the computer is taken as input by the projector. Nowadays, the traditional blackboards are also getting replaced by smart screens, which use projectors to display images and videos to the students for better understanding.
A plotter is an output device that works similarly to a printer, but for large vector graphics. The lines are made on the paper using a pen or any other such tool mechanically by the plotter. These devices are used to print large high resolution, vector-based graphics, such as those used in architectural firms. They also prove advantageous as they can draw not only paper but on varied types of surfaces like plywood, aluminium sheet, plastic, etc.
The only drawback is that they are quite expensive and require much larger space than normal printers.
This completes our article on – “Input and Output Devices of computer”. I hope you liked it. Do let us know in the comments in case of any questions or suggestions.
10 thoughts on “Working of input and output devices with examples”
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