Computer technology continues to evolve and enables people to interact with computers more efficiently. Much of computer interaction is made possible with the use of input devices—small electronic equipment that is used to input data or information into a CPU. Input devices come in a variety of types and help to create a broad range of tasks that a computer can accomplish.
The computer keyboard is the most common computer input device. This piece of equipment comes in a variety of shapes and sizes—ranging from keyboards that are big and bulky to others that are completely wireless.
Whatever form they may be, they all serve one purpose—entering information into a computer. It enables people to accomplish many tasks, including word processing, reporting, database management, programming and other data-intensive work.
When the world graduated from a purely text-based operating system and moved to a graphical interface, the mouse became one of the most utilized input devices. It is an extension of the keyboard, used to navigate or interact with the computer by clicking a button and maneuvering a cursor. Software applications rapidly became more user-friendlier by implementing point and click navigation to carry out commands instead of memorizing a code or combinations of it to perform functions.
The point-and-click attributes prove useful in web and gaming applications. A mouse and keyboard combination allows people to perform the majority of tasks that a computer is used for.
Web-cams make computing more interactive by adding a visual element while communicating with family, friends, or business associates. Adding audio input through the use of a microphone makes talking through the computer possible. The combination of these two input devices makes video conferencing possible without the use of high-end audiovisual equipment.
Input devices are used for a wide array of applications, including design, retail, and entertainment. CAD systems use input devices for detailed graphic creation for architecture and industrial design. Barcode scanners are now used for many point-of-sale computer systems, making checkout quicker and more efficient. Midi keyboards are used for digital music and sound effects. The variety of input devices is continually growing, allowing users to perform more tasks than ever before.