According to Computer Hope, an input device is any piece of hardware capable of sending data to a computer. The data sent must be used to interact with or control the computer itself.
Input devices come in a variety of forms but are generally directly connected to the computer. The most commonly used input devices are the computer mouse and keyboard located on nearly every computer and used to input computer commands. Other direct input devices include numeric keypads, digital scanners, stylus pens and magnetic-stripe readers. For gaming, input devices include joysticks, gaming pads, steering wheels and motion sensors, such as the those in the Microsoft Kinect system. Musicians can hook up midi keyboards that send musical note information, including pitch, tone, duration and synthesized instrument types. Graphic artists can use graphics tablets that replicate drawing surfaces to input information to 2-D photo-manipulation programs, drawing software or 3-D animation programs. Touch screens are also considered input devices and can be used to replace keyboards and mice as the major tool for inputting information into small-scale computing devices, such as tablets, smartphones or PCs. Even video devices, such as webcams, digital cameras and video capture devices connecting outside video sources for display on the computer's screen are considered input devices.