20 Examples of Input Devices of Computer

Input Devices

An input device is a device that allows a user to send data, information, or control signals to a computer. A computer’s Central Processing Unit (CPU) receives input and processes it to produce output.

Some of the popular input devices are:

  1. Keyboard
  2. Mouse
  3. Scanner
  4. Joystick
  5. Light Pen
  6. Digitizer
  7. Microphone
  8. Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR)
  9. Optical Character Reader (OCR)
  10. Digital Camera
  11. Paddle
  12. Steering Wheel
  13. Gesture recognition devices
  14. Light Gun
  15. TouchPad
  16. Remote
  17. Touch screen
  18. VR
  19. Webcam
  20. Biometric Devices

1) Keyboard

The keyboard is a basic input device for entering data into a computer or other electronic device by pressing keys. It has separate key sets for letters, numbers, characters, and functions. For wireless communication, keyboards are connected to a computer via USB or a Bluetooth device.

Types of keyboards: There can be different types of keyboards based on the region and language used. Some of the common types of keyboards are as follows:

i) QWERTY Keyboard:

In modern times, it is the most commonly used keyboard in computers. It is named after the first six letters of the top row of buttons and is even popular in countries where the alphabet is not Latin-based. It is so popular that some people believe it is the only type of keyboard that can be used as an input device with computers.

ii) AZERTY Keyboard:

It is widely regarded as the standard French keyboard. It was created in France as an alternative to the QWERTY keyboard layout and is primarily used in France and other European countries. Some countries have produced their own AZERTY keyboards.

It gets its name from the first six letters on the top left row of the keyboard. The Q and W keys on an AZERTY keyboard correspond to the A and Z keys on a QWERTY keyboard. Furthermore, the M key is located to the left of the L key on an AZERTY keyboard.

The AZERTY keyboard differs from the QWERTY keyboard not only in letter placement but also in many other ways, such as emphasising accents, which is required for writing European languages such as French.

iii) DVORAK Keyboard:

This keyboard layout was designed to improve typing speed by reducing finger movement while typing. To improve typing, the most frequently used letters are kept in a home row.

2) Mouse

The mouse is a portable input device used to move the cursor or pointer across the screen. It is intended to be used on a flat surface and typically has left and right buttons with a scroll wheel in between. Laptop computers include a touchpad that functions as a mouse. It allows you to move the cursor or pointer by moving your finger across the touchpad. Some mice include built-in features such as extra buttons for performing different functions.

Douglas C. Engelbart invented the mouse in 1963. Underneath the device, an early mouse had a roller ball integrated as a movement sensor. Modern mice use optical technology to control cursor movements via a visible or invisible light beam. Depending on the type of computer and mouse, a mouse is connected to a computer via various ports.

Common types of the mouse:

i) Trackball Mouse:

It is a fixed input device with a ball mechanism for moving the pointer or cursor on the screen. The ball is partially inserted into the device and can be rolled with a finger, thumb, or palm to move the pointer on the screen. The device includes a sensor that detects the rotation of the ball. It remains stationary on the operating surface; you do not need to move it. As a result, it is an ideal device if you have limited desk space because it does not require movement like a mouse.

ii) Mechanical Mouse:

It has a tracking system consisting of a ball and several rollers. It is a mouse with a cord. A mechanical mouse can be used to achieve peak performance. The disadvantage is that they tend to collect dust in the mechanics, necessitating regular cleaning.

iii) Optical Mouse:

An optical mouse tracks its movement using optical electronics. It is more dependable than a mechanical mouse and requires less upkeep. However, the surface on which it is used has an impact on its performance. For best results, use a plain, non-glossy mouse mat. The rough surface may cause issues for the optical recognition system, and the glossy surface may reflect light incorrectly, resulting in tracking issues.

iv) Cordless or Wireless Mouse:

As the name implies, this type of mouse has no cable and instead controls the cursor with wireless technology such as IrDA (infrared) or radio (Bluetooth or Wi-Fi). It is used to enhance the user experience when using a mouse. It gets its power from batteries.

3) Scanner

The scanner takes pictures and text pages as input. It scans a photograph or a document. As an output, the scanned image or document is converted into a digital format or file and displayed on the screen. It converts images into digital ones using optical character recognition techniques. The following are some examples of common types of scanners:

Types of Scanner:

i) Flatbed Scanner:

It has a glass pane and an optical CIS or CCD array that moves. The image is placed on the glass pane after the light illuminates it. The light moves across the glass pane, scanning the document and creating a digital copy. When scanning transparent slides, you will need a transparency adapter.

ii) Handheld Scanner:

It is a small manual scanning device that is held in one hand and rolled over the flat image to be scanned. The disadvantage of using this device is that the hand must be steady while scanning; otherwise, the image may be distorted. The barcode scanner, which you may have seen in a store, is one of the most commonly used handheld scanners.

iii) Sheetfed Scanner:

The document is inserted into the scanner’s slot in this scanner. The sheet-feeder, scanning module, and calibration sheet are the main components of this scanner. In this scanner, the light does not move. Instead, the document is processed by the scanner. It is best suited for scanning single-page documents rather than thick objects such as books, magazines, and so on.

iv) Drum Scanner:

To scan images, a drum scanner uses a photomultiplier tube (PMT). It lacks a charge-coupled device, such as a flatbed scanner. The photomultiplier tube is extremely light-sensitive. The image is placed on a glass tube, and light moves across it, producing a reflection of the image that is captured and processed by the PMT. These scanners have a high resolution and can handle detailed scans.

v) Photo Scanner:

It is intended for scanning photographs. It has a high resolution and colour depth, which are required for photo scanning. Some photo scanners include software for cleaning and restoring old photos.

4) Joystick

A joystick, like a mouse, is a pointing input device. It consists of a stick with a spherical base. The base is inserted into a socket, allowing the stick to move freely. The movement of the stick on the screen controls the cursor or pointer.

C. B. Mirick invented the first joystick at the US Naval Research Laboratory. A joystick can be of various types, including displacement joysticks, finger-operated joysticks, hand-operated joysticks, isometric joysticks, and others. Unless the joystick is upright, the cursor moves in the direction of the joystick, whereas the mouse moves only when the mouse moves.

5) Light Pen

A light pen is a type of computer input device that resembles a pen. A light-sensitive detector at the tip of the light pen allows the user to point to or select objects on the display screen. Its light-sensitive tip detects the location of the object and sends the appropriate signals to the CPU. Because it is incompatible with LCD screens, it is no longer in use. It also allows you to draw on the screen if necessary. The first light pen was developed as part of the Whirlwind project at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology around 1955. (MIT).

6) Digitizer

A digitizer is a computer input device with a flat surface that usually includes a stylus. It allows the user to draw images and graphics on paper with a stylus, just like we do with a pencil. The computer monitor or display screen displays the images or graphics drawn on the digitizer. Touch inputs are converted into lines by the software, and handwritten text can be converted to typewritten words.

It can read handwritten signatures as well as data or images from taped papers. It is also used to receive information in the form of drawings and send it to a CAD (Computer-aided design) application and software such as AutoCAD. As a result, it enables you to convert hand-drawn images into computer-compatible formats.

7) Microphone

The microphone is a computer input device that is used to enter sound into the computer. It detects sound vibrations and converts them into audio signals, which it then sends to a recording medium. The audio signals are converted into digital data, which is then stored in the computer. The microphone allows the user to communicate with others as well. It is also used to add sound to presentations and for video conferencing with webcams. A microphone can capture audio waves in a variety of ways; the three most common are described below:

i) Dynamic:

It is the most commonly used microphone and has a straightforward design. On the front end of the magnet is a magnet wrapped in a metal coil and a thin sheet. The sheet transmits vibrations from sound waves to the coil, and then from the coil to electric wires, which transmit the sound as an electrical signal.

ii) Condenser:

It has a very sensitive and flat frequency response and is intended for audio recording. It has a diaphragm front plate and a back plate parallel to the diaphragm front plate. When sound strikes the diaphragm, it vibrates and changes the distance between the two plates. Distance changes are transmitted as electric signals.

iii) Ribbon:

It is well-known for its dependability. A thin ribbon of aluminium, duraluminum, or nanofilm suspended in a magnetic field is used. The sound waves cause vibrations in the ribbon, which generate a voltage proportional to the vibration’s velocity. An electrical signal is used to transmit the voltage. Early ribbon microphones used a transformer to boost the output voltage, but modern ribbon microphones use advanced magnets to generate a strong signal.

8) Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR)

The MICR computer input device is intended to read magnetic ink-printed text. MICR is a type of character recognition technology that employs magnetised ink that is sensitive to magnetic fields. It is widely used in banks and other organisations where security is a major concern to process cheques. It can process three hundred cheques per minute with 100% accuracy. Magnetic ink is used to write the information on the bottom of the cheque (MICR No.). The magnetic ink can be printed using a laser printer with MICR toner.

The details are read by the device and sent to a computer for processing. A magnetic ink-printed document must pass through a machine that magnetises the ink, and the magnetic ink

9) Optical Character Reader (OCR)

An optical character recognition (OCR) computer input device is intended to convert scanned images of handwritten, typed, or printed text into digital text. It is widely used in offices and libraries to convert paper documents and books into digital files.

It uses a scanner to process and copy the physical form of a document. Following the copying of the documents, the OCR software converts them to a two-colour (black and white) version known as a bitmap. Then it is analysed for light and dark areas, with the dark areas being identified as characters and the light areas as background. It is commonly used to convert hard copies of legal or historical documents into PDFs. If necessary, the converted documents can be edited in the same way that MS Word documents are.

10) Digital camera:

It is a digital device because it digitally captures images and videos and stores them on a memory card. In place of the film used by traditional cameras, it has an image sensor chip to capture images. A camera that is linked to your computer is also referred to as a digital camera.

Photosensors are used to record light that enters the camera through the lens. When light strikes the photosensors, each one returns an electrical current that is used to generate the images.

11) Paddle:

It is a straightforward input device that is widely used in video games. It is a hand-held wheel that looks like a volume knob on a stereo and is used to increase or decrease volume. In a back-and-forth motion, the paddle moves or controls the cursor or any other objects in the game. It is commonly used in place of a joystick. Aside from that, the term paddle refers to a variety of handheld devices used to control a function in an electronic device, computer, etc.

12) Steering wheel:

It is used to steer a vehicle in racing video games such as car racing games or driving programmes such as virtual simulators. It functions similarly to a real steering wheel by allowing you to turn right or left. A steering wheel may be outfitted with accelerator and brake pedals, as well as a gearshift mechanism. As a result, racing games become more exciting and entertaining.

13) Gesture recognition devices:

Human gestures are used to control these devices. There are numerous such devices that react to gestures. Kinect, for example, is one such device that detects the movement of a player’s body and interprets it as input to video games. This feature is also available in some tablets and smartphones, allowing you to perform tasks such as taking pictures with finger gestures such as swiping, pinching, and so on.

14) Light Gun:

As the name implies, it is a pointing input device used to point at and shoot targets on a screen in a video game, arcade, etc. On the MIT Whirlwind computer, the light gun was used for the first time. When you point the gun at the target on the screen and pull the trigger, the screen goes blank for a fraction of a second. During this period, the photodiode in the barrel determines where the gun is pointed. Shooting ducks in a duck hunt game, for example.

15) Touchpad:

It is commonly found in laptops as a replacement for the mouse. It allows you to use your finger to move or control the cursor on the screen. It has two buttons for right and left clicks, just like a mouse. You can use the touchpad to perform all mouse-like tasks, such as selecting an object on the screen, copying, pasting, deleting, opening a file or folder, and so on.

16) Remote:

It is a hardware device designed to control the operation of a device, such as a TV remote that can be used from a distance to change channels or increase or decrease volume without leaving the seat. Dr. Robert Adler of Zenith invented the first cordless TV remote in 1956. To communicate with the device, the remote sends electromagnetic waves. These waves could be infrared rays, radio waves, or something else.

17) Touch screen:

It is the display screen of a device, such as a smartphone or tablet, that allows users to interact with the device or provide inputs by using their finger. Most electronic devices nowadays include a touchscreen as an alternative to a mouse for navigating a graphical user interface. Touching, for example, allows you to unlock your phone, open emails, open files, play videos, and so on. Aside from that, it is used in a variety of devices such as cameras, car GPS, fitness machines, and so on.

E.A. Johnson invented and published the concept of the touch screen in 1965. CERN engineers Frank Beck and Bent Stumpe created the first touch screen in the early 1970s.

18) VR:

VR is an abbreviation for virtual reality. It is a computer-generated artificial or virtual environment. Using input devices such as headsets, gloves, and headphones, a person can interact with virtual objects in this artificial environment. He or she may find himself or herself walking on a beach, watching a football match, walking in the sky, and so on, without actually doing any of these things.

19) Webcam:

A webcam is any camera that is connected to a computer. A webcam is also the in-built camera that comes with a computer. It is an input device because it can take pictures and, if necessary, record videos. The images and videos are saved in the computer memory and can be viewed on the screen if necessary. Although it functions similarly to a digital camera, it differs in that it is designed to take compact digital photos that can be easily uploaded to webpages and shared with others via the internet.

20) Biometric Devices:

Biometrics is a process that identifies a person based on biological features such as fingerprints, eye cornea, face structure, and so on. It is accomplished through the use of biometric devices, which can be classified according to their scanning features and capabilities, such as:

i) Face Scanner:

It is intended to recognise a person by scanning his or her face. It takes a person’s face measurements. For example, the distance between the eyes, nose, and mouth, and so on, confirms a person’s identity. Aside from that, it is intelligent enough to distinguish between a person’s image and the real person.

ii) Hand Scanner:

A person’s hand can also be used to verify his or her identity because each person has a unique pattern of veins in the palm, similar to fingerprints. This device takes advantage of this feature by scanning the palm of a person’s hand. It scans the patterns of veins and the blood flowing through them with infrared light. Palms are even more distinct than fingerprints.

iii) Fingerprint Scanner:

It scans fingerprints in order to identify people or to perform biometric authentication. This device was created with the understanding that no two people on the planet have the same fingerprints. It is widely used in businesses as a fingerprint attendance system to track employee attendance. This type of scanner records the valleys and ridges found on a finger and stores it in memory or a database. When you place your finger in the designated space, it verifies your identity using pattern-matching software.

iv) Retina or Iris Scanner:

It scans a person’s retina or iris to confirm their identity. This device is more secure than others because copying the retina or iris is nearly impossible. It works by mapping the blood vessel patterns of the retina. The blood vessels in the retina absorb light more easily and can be seen with appropriate lighting.

In this scan, a low-energy infrared light beam is directed at the retina via the scanner’s eyepiece. The software then captures the retina’s network of blood vessels and uses it to verify a person’s identity.

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