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Input Devices



An input device is any peripheral (piece of computer hardware equipment) used to provide data and control signals to an information processing system such as a computer or other information appliance.

Barcodes

Barcodes are often used to help organize and index information or prices about an object.

A barcode reader or scanner, also known as a point of sale (POS) scanner is a hardware device capable of reading a barcode and printing out the details of the product or logging that product into a database.

A hardware device capable of printing out adhesive barcodes that can be attached to a product. This helps identify the product or a company keep track of its inventory.

Digital Camera

A digital camera can be used to take pictures. It can be hooked up to a computer to transfer the pictures from the camera to the computer.

Some digital cameras hold a floppy disk, and the floppy disk can be taken out of the camera and put directly into the computer.

The resolution of a digital camera is often limited by the image sensor (typically a CCD or CMOS sensor chip) that turns light into discrete signals, replacing the job of film in traditional photography.

The sensor is made up of millions of "buckets" that essentially count the number of photons that strike the sensor. This means that the brighter the image at a given point on the sensor, the larger the value that is read for that pixel.

Depending on the physical structure of the sensor, a color filter array may be used which requires a demosaicing/interpolation algorithm. The number of resulting pixels in the image determines its "pixel count".

For example, a 640x480 image would have 307,200 pixels, or approximately 307 kilopixels; a 3872x2592 image would have 10,036,224 pixels, or approximately 10 megapixels.

Touch Screen

A touch screen is a computer screen or other screen that you can touch with your finger to enter information. Examples of touch screens include a smart board, a microwave, a dishwasher, or an ATM at a bank.

Instead of being touch-sensitive, some touch screens also use beams across the screen to create a grid that is interrupted by the presence of a finger near the screen.

Touchscreens are common in devices such as game consoles, all-in-one computers, tablet computers, and smartphones.

The touchscreen has two main attributes. First, it enables one to interact directly with what is displayed, rather than indirectly with a pointer controlled by a mouse or touch pad.

Secondly, it lets one do so without requiring any intermediate device that would need to be held in the hand (other than a stylus, which is optional for most modern touchscreens).

Such displays can be attached to computers, or to networks as terminals. They also play a prominent role in the design of digital appliances such as the personal digital assistant (PDA), satellite navigation devices, mobile phones, and video games.

Fingerprint Scanner

When referring to computers and security, a fingerprint refers to any trace of information left by someone. Often, if someone has gained unauthorized access to a computer or network, an administrator or security agent may look for any fingerprints left by the attacker, such as IP addresses, host names, etc.

This can be compared to a crime scene detective looking for fingerprints at a crime scene.

When referring to computer hardware, a fingerprint scanner or fingerprint reader is a hardware device that verifies a user or enters password information by scanning their finger.

A fingerprint sensor is an electronic device used to capture a digital image of the fingerprint pattern. The captured image is called a live scan. This live scan is digitally processed to create a biometric template (a collection of extracted features) which is stored and used for matching.

Game Controller

A game controller is a device used with games or entertainment systems to provide input to a video game, typically to control an object or character in the game.

A controller is usually connected to a game console or computer by means of a wire or cord, although wireless controllers are also widespread.

Input devices that have been classified as game controllers include keyboards, mice, game pads, joysticks, etc.

Special purpose devices, such as steering wheels for driving games and light guns for shooting games, are also game controllers.

Devices such as mice and keyboards can be emulated with a game pad through the use of programs such as 'JoyToKey'.

Game Pad

A gamepad (also called joypad or control pad), is a type of game controller held in two hands, where the digits (especially thumbs) are used to provide input. Gamepads generally feature a set of action buttons handled with the right thumb and a direction controller handled with the left.

The direction controller has traditionally been a four-way digital cross (also named a joypad, or alternatively a D-pad), but most modern controllers additionally (or as a substitute) feature an analog stick.

Some common additions to the standard pad include shoulder buttons placed along the edges of the pad, centrally placed start, select, and mode buttons, and an internal motor to provide force feedback.

Gamepads are the primary means of input on all modern video game consoles except for the Wii (though the Wii Remote can function alternately as a gamepad). Gamepads are also available for personal computers.

Paddle


A paddle is a game controller with a round wheel and one or more fire buttons, where the wheel is typically used to control movement of the player object along one axis of the video screen.

A paddle controller rotates through a fixed arc (usually about 330 degrees); it has a stop at each end.

The term paddle may also be used to describe various handheld devices that are capable of controlling a function on a computer or electronic device.

Graphic Tablet

Alternatively referred to as a drawing tablet and pen tablet, a graphics tablet is a highly accurate hardware input device that enables an artist to draw or sketch easier than they would be able to do with a standard computer mouse.

A graphics tablet (also digitizer, digitizing tablet, graphics pad, drawing tablet or pen tablet) is a computer input device that enables a user to hand-draw images and graphics, similar to the way a person draws images with a pencil and paper. These tablets may also be used to capture data or handwritten signatures.

It can also be used to trace an image from a piece of paper which is taped or otherwise secured to the surface. Capturing data in this way, either by tracing or entering the corners of linear poly-lines or shapes is called digitizing.

Keyboard

A keyboard is a typewriter-style keyboard, which uses an arrangement of buttons or keys, to act as mechanical levers or electronic switches.

A keyboard typically has characters engraved or printed on the keys and each press of a key typically corresponds to a single written symbol. However, to produce some symbols requires pressing and holding several keys simultaneously or in sequence. While most keyboard keys produce letters, numbers or signs (characters), other keys or simultaneous key presses can produce actions or computer commands.

The United States keyboard layout is used as default in the currently most popular operating systems: Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. Most of the more common keyboard layouts (QWERTY-based and similar) were designed in the era of the mechanical typewriters, so their ergonomics had to be slightly compromised in order to tackle some of the mechanical limitations of the typewriter. As the letter-keys were attached to levers that needed to move freely, inventor Christopher Sholes developed the QWERTY layout to reduce the likelihood of jamming.

The QWERTZ layout is widely used in Germany and much of Central Europe. The main difference between it and QWERTY is that Y and Z are swapped, and most special characters such as brackets are replaced by diacritical characters.

The AZERTY layout is used in France, Belgium and some neighbouring countries. It differs from the QWERTY layout in that the A and Q are swapped, the Z and W are swapped, and the M is moved from the right of N to the right of L (where colon/semicolon is on a US keyboard). The digits 0 to 9 are on the same keys, but to be typed the shift key must be pressed.

Microphone

It is abbreviated as mic, a microphone is a hardware peripheral originally invented by Emile Berliner in 1877 that allows computer users to input audio into their computers.
It is an acoustic-to-electric transducer or sensor that converts sound into an electrical signal.

Microphones are used in many applications such as telephones, tape recorders, karaoke systems, hearing aids, motion picture production, live and recorded audio engineering, FRS radios, megaphones, in radio and television broadcasting and in computers for recording voice, speech recognition, VoIP, and for non-acoustic purposes such as ultrasonic checking or knock sensors.

Musical Instrument Digital Interface

MIDI is a standard for digitally representing and transmitting sounds that was first developed in the 1980s.

The MIDI sound is played back through the hardware device or computer either through a synthesized audio sound or a waveform stored on the hardware device or computer.

The quality of how MIDI sounds when played back by the hardware device or computer depends upon that device's capability.

Many older computer sound cards will have a MIDI port, as shown in the top right picture. This port allows a musical instrument devices to be connected to the computer, such as a MIDI keyboard or a synthesizer.

Mouse

A mouse moves the graphical pointer by being slid across a smooth surface. The conventional roller-ball mouse uses a ball to create this action: the ball is in contact with two small shafts that are set at right angles to each other. As the ball moves these shafts rotate, and the rotation is measured by sensors within the mouse.

The distance and direction information from the sensors is then transmitted to the computer, and the computer moves the graphical pointer on the screen by following the movements of the mouse. Another common mouse is the optical mouse. This device is very similar to the conventional mouse but uses visible or infrared light instead of a roller-ball to detect the changes in position.

Mini-mouse: A Mini-mouse is a small egg-sized mouse for use with laptop computers, usually small enough for use on a free area of the laptop body itself, it is typically optical, includes a retractable cord and uses a USB port to save battery life.

Remote

A hardware device that allows a user to control a device or object in another location.

A remote control is a component of an electronics device, most commonly a television set, DVD player and home theater systems originally used for operating the television device wirelessly from a short line-of-sight distance.

Remote control has continually evolved and advanced over recent years to include Bluetooth connectivity, motion sensor enabled capabilities and voice control.

When referring to a connection a remote connection or to connect remotely is another way of saying remote access.

Scanner

Hardware input device that allows a user to take an image or text and convert it into a digital file, allowing the computer to read or display the scanned object.

A scanner is commonly connected to a computer USB, Firewire, Parallel or SCSI port.

Other scanners include: sheetfed scanner, which is a scanner that scans paper fed into it, handheld scanner, which is a scanner that is held and drag over a page to scan it, and a card scanner, which is a small scanner capable of scanning business cards.

Scanners typically read red-green-blue color (RGB) data from the array. This data is then processed with some proprietary algorithm to correct for different exposure conditions, and sent to the computer via the device's input/output interface (usually USB, previous to which was SCSI or bidirectional parallel port in older units).

Webcam

A webcam is a video camera that feeds its images in real time to a computer or computer network, often via USB, ethernet, or Wi-Fi.

Their most popular use is the establishment of video links, permitting computers to act as videophones or video conference stations. This common use as a video camera for the World Wide Web gave the webcam its name.

Other popular uses include security surveillance and computer vision and there are also uses on sites like video broadcasting services and for recording social videos .

Webcams are known for their low manufacturing cost and flexibility, making them the lowest cost form of video telephony. They have also become a source of security and privacy issues, as some built-in webcams can be remotely activated via spyware.

First developed in 1991, a webcam was pointed at the Trojan Room coffee pot in the Cambridge University Computer Science Department. The camera was finally switched off on August 22, 2001. The final image captured by the camera can still be viewed at its homepage. The oldest webcam still operating is FogCam at San Francisco State University, which has been running continuously since 1994.


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