What Are the Functions of Input Devices?

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The functions of input devices include the multiple ways a person can input data into a computer. There are multiple items that are considered to be input devices, such as a keyboard, mouse and microphone.

Keyboard When exploring the functions of input devices, looking at the keyboard is important as it is the device people use most to input data. With a keyboard, it is possible to input text and numbers, as well as execute a number of actions, such as printing, taking a screenshot or moving around a Web page. The “F” keys at the top of a keyboard allow users to take advantage of a variety of program functions. The overall functions depend on the program being used.

Mouse A mouse is a type of pointing device that allows users to more easily move around their computer. Point and click on specific applications to open them, or on Web pages to bring them up. There are multiple mouse options available today, including an optical mouse and a wireless mouse.

The optical type does not use the rolling ball, but an optical sensor to know when a person is moving it. It typically plugs directly into the computer or laptop. The wireless type might be optical or roller ball. The primary difference is that there is not plug into the computer or laptop. It usually uses Bluetooth protocol and hardware for the computer to be able to sense the mouse.

Laptop computers generally come equipped with a touchpad that mostly functions like a traditional mouse. People use their fingers and slide them around to move the pointer on the screen. There are generally two buttons above or below the touchpad that function like the left and right buttons on a traditional mouse.

Microphone A microphone is used to record sound on a computer. It can be attached via circuitry that is built into the computer’s motherboard or with a sound card input. Once the sound is essentially fed into the computer, it is digitized. This transforms it into original analog sound waves after it becomes numbers. The computer can then store the sound so that a person can access it later to either play it back or manipulate it.

Scanner A scanner makes it possible to input documents, images and similar data into a computer. It can attach wirelessly or via a cord. In some cases, a driver might have to be installed for it to work. Once everything is set up, users simply scan in their data and it is available for use and manipulation on their computer. This device essentially digitizes images, graphics or documents for use on a computer.

Touchscreen Some computers use touchscreen technology on the main monitor display. Using a finger or a special pen, people can point and click on various applications on their computer to get them to open and function. The special pens usually have a soft rubber or plastic part where the tip of the pen would be, so it moves around the screen easily. It is also possible to write in certain programs just using a finger or the pen.