Let’s make it very clear. If you want to have control over your computer system, there’s really no alternative to input devices. Keep in mind; there are self-functioning computer devices out there. But they’re not the same as your own personal desktop.
A complete computer is the compilation of various types of devices. Like output devices, input devices are just another type that’s crucial when it comes to human operation.
Here, we’re gonna discuss the purpose of input devices of computers and how they function. But before going into all that, I think we need to have a clear idea about what an input device is. We’re about to start with the basics. So, keep your focus gear on. Every bit of info matters in the end.
What Actually is an Input Device?
It’s pretty easy to understand and acknowledge that, to feed info and data to a particular computer, you’ll need a certain kind of hardware or instrument. This piece of hardware enables human interaction with the computer. In other words, it allows us to control or give commands to the computer itself.
These devices or pieces of hardware convert our actions to raw data that in turn, is recognized by the computer through the CPU or the central processing unit. These kinds of devices/hardware/instruments are generally known as input devices.
If you want a simple answer, an input device is the type of peripheral that enables communication with the main processing units of a computer.
Why Do We Need Input Devices?
Well, just like output devices, input devices serve particular purposes. As the definition is given beforehand, it should be pretty clear by now that, to operate a computer, you WILL need a set of input devices. You don’t have to look far to understand the crucial fact here.
Imagine you need to write a document for your exam assignment, but a keyboard doesn’t exist. Seems pretty impossible right? Just like that, to receive any kind of output from your computer, you’ll need to have a certain kind of input device.
This is how it goes. Input, processing, and then output. Without input devices, you won’t be getting any kind of output from basic computers. Which pretty much obliterates the whole point of computing.
Bottom line? To operate a computer and receive any kind of output, there’s no alternative to input devices.
A Few Input Devices and Usage
I think we have a pretty good idea about input devices in general and the purpose they serve. Now, let’s get into more specified details about individual device. There are a lot of input devices out there. However, I’ll try to cover the most known and common ones. Here goes!
Keyboards are very very common, and you surely have used and come across them quite often. Keyboards are used to take input data commands that are in return converted to displayed texts.
Keyboards have multiple sets of keys including control keys, arrow keys, function keys, keypad, and of course, letters, numbers, and commands.
As far as connectivity is concerned, keyboards are connected with the computer through USB ports or via Bluetooth. Laptop keyboards are generally connected with the device itself, and smartphones (Also tablets) use on-screen keyboards. All keyboards pretty much have pretty much the same key layout.
Keyboards take input from keypresses and transfer data that gets processed by the computer. Keyboards are generally used for typing, gaming, and basic computer operation. I wouldn’t say that a PC becomes unusable without a keyboard. However, many applications exclusively demand a keyboard.
This input device is meant to be held by the palm and to operate/ move the cursor. It’s ideal for navigation in multiple applications. Mice can be connected to computers through USB ports or wirelessly through Bluetooth dongles.
Mice are generally used to move the cursor, select, scroll, drag and drop, hover, open or execute a program, etc. A mouse can have additional buttons. By additional, I mean to say DPI buttons, side buttons, and so on. The extra buttons in a mouse can be assigned to execute various tasks as well.
If you’re willing to input audio into your computer, microphones are probably the best way to go about it.Microphones can be as various types and sizes. Some are even wireless. Each type of microphone captures audio in a particular manner. But in any case, the purpose is the same.
A microphone can be used for online voice calls, gaming, voice recording, voice recognition, VoIP- Voice Over Internet Protocol, podcasts, and much more. Microphones are ideal for real-time voice interactions with individuals. That’s why, they can often be found attached with headsets.
We’re all pretty familiar with digital cameras. As the name suggests, they take pictures digitally and the images are stored as data in memory cards. These cameras have an LCD screen and can display images directly. These devices can be connected to a PC through a dedicated cable.
These devices make picture selection far easier due to the provided LCD screen. Plus, the additional storage allows the device to store hundreds of pictures. To top it off, it’s portable and can be carried anywhere.
Data can be transferred from these devices to a computer with ease through a data cable. Data transfer from the memory card to the computer is a convenient way to store your precious memories.
A gamepad or a joystick is yet another input device that can be used to play computer games. These really don’t have professional or office use. Rather, the buttons and the analog sticks that are integrated can be used to control in-game characters and events.
Gamepads can be of various types as well. Some even use various inputs like the x-input or direct-input. Some controllers or gamepads don’t work with some PC games straight off the bat. You’ll need emulators for that purpose. However, X-box controllers don’t have this issue.
Gamepads can be connected to the PC via Bluetooth or a USB port.
Gamepads are mostly used for gaming. Some prefer them over keyboard and mice controls, especially in fighting and hack and slash games.
A webcam is similar to a camera that captures still pictures or motion video and can transmit it to the computer or directly to the internet. These devices are small in size and can be attached to monitor displays. However, they are pre-installed in laptops.
Webcams are mostly used for video calls and personal video recording. Webcams can be very useful for streaming as well.
I’m pretty much generalizing all biometric devices here. These can be referred to as face scanners, fingerprint scanners, hand scanners, and voice scanners.
Biometric devices are mostly used for recognition and access to computer devices. These are very useful to keep your system and data safe from intruders.
Scanners can convert physical images and documents into digital form. Scanners can be of different types like flatbed, handheld, sheetfed scanners and so on. These too are connected to the computer through USB ports.
Physical documents and hard copies can easily be scanned through this input device and in turn create digital counterparts. Photographs and artworks can also be stored in this manner.
Touch screens and graphic tablets use touch to create data input and show results on the visual screen. Physical touch is first converted to data and then represented as visual elements. The same can be done in smartphones nowadays, but professionals often prefer computers as they offer more precise results.
These devices are essential for graphic artists and those who want to make their workflow more efficient.
Try to keep in mind, no matter what kind of input device you’re using, you’re ultimately transferring data to the computer. Unlike output devices, input devices don’t receive and convert data into some other form. Rather, input devices are built for the sole purpose of transmitting data.
The Final Input
Well, we’re finished with inputting info inside your mind about input devices. Hope you found the read enjoyable and useful as well. I tried to cover the basics and provide extensive detail about how they work.
After reading through the examples, you should easily be able to identify an input device when you see one. Not all devices are similar. Each have their own particular utility.
With that said, let’s part ways. For now, at least.