An input device is any hardware device that sends data to a computer, allowing you to interact with and control the computer. The picture shows a Logitech trackball mouse, an example of an input device.
The most commonly used or primary input devices on a computer are the keyboard and mouse. However, there are dozens of other devices that can also be used to input data into the computer. Below is a list of computer input devices that can be utilized with a computer or a computing device.
Types of input devices
- Audio conversion device
- Barcode reader
- Biometrics (e.g. fingerprint scanner)
- Business Card Reader
- Digital camera and Digital Camcorder
- Electroencephalography (EEG)
- Finger (with touchscreen or Windows Touch)
- Gamepad, Joystick, Paddle, Steering wheel, and Microsoft Kinect
- Gesture recognition
- Graphics tablet
- Light gun
- Light pen
- Magnetic ink (like the ink found on checks)
- Magnetic stripe reader
- Medical imaging devices (e.g., X-Ray, CAT Scan, and Ultrasound images)
- Microphone (using voice speech recognition or biometric verification)
- MIDI keyboard
- Mouse, touchpad, or other pointing devices
- Optical Mark Reader (OMR)
- Pen or Stylus
- Punch card reader
- Sensors (e.g. heat and orientation sensors)
- Sonar imaging devices
- Voice (using voice speech recognition or biometric verification)
- Video capture device
- VR helmet and gloves
Tip: Keep in mind that drives such as a CD-ROM, DVD, Floppy diskette drive, and a USB Flash drive may be capable of sending information to a computer, but they are not input devices. They are considered storage devices.
What are the input devices of my computer
Every computer comes with a keyboard and a mouse (touchpad with laptop) that are considered input devices. As far as any other input device it all depends on what is included with your computer or attached to your computer. For example, if you also have a scanner it would be another computer input devices. The best method of determining all of the input devices your computer has is to go through the above list and note each of the input devices your computer has.
What does an input device send to a computer?
What a computer sends (inputs) to a computer all depends on a device. However, all input devices send data from the device over a cable or wireless transmission to the computer. For example, as you move a computer mouse the data it sends to the computer are the X-Y axis movements that the computer uses to display the mouse cursor on the screen. You can see a live example of this on our x-axis definition.
Why does a computer need an input device?
Today, input devices are important to the computer because they are what allows you to interact with a computer and add new information to the computer. For example, if a computer had no input devices it could run by itself but would have no way of having any settings changed, errors fixed, or any other user interaction. Also, if you wanted to add new information to the computer (e.g. text, command, document, picture, etc.) it could not be added without an input device.