Computer Input Technologies By Alan Turing

2340 Words10 Pages
Computer Input Technologies

Introduction The interaction between humans and the machine is a relatively new science. When considering how the inputs to a computer started out, it is interesting to observe just how little has changed. For example, the QWERTY keyboard as part of the typewriter invented in the 1870s(2) far predates the concept of the modern digital computer as described by Alan Turing in 1936(3). Our tools to interact with our own machines have however been refined to be more convenient for the average user with interfaces such as optimised USB and layout studied for ergonomy. In recent years, input technologies have not only been improved but brand new ones have emerged like motion control for example. The future is bright
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Furthermore, trackballs are still quite common as scrollwheels in computer mouse devices. Interestingly, the invention of the computer ball mouse in 1968 sprang directly from the invention of the trackball. In a sense, the ball mouse is a “reversed” version of the same device. The trackball rolls on the surface instead of the user’s hands, however the tracking operates in the same way(1). This innovation in existing technology meant that the handheld-type design would later be upgraded as newer technologies took its place. Today, the ball mouse has been largely replaced by the optical and laser mouse. These types of mouse devices use LEDs to emit light onto the surface on which it sits, the reflected light is analysed by a set of photodiodes. Whether the mouse is laser or not depends on if the LEDs emit coherent light (laser) or not (optical). The main drawback of the optical mouse is that they only function on opaque and matte surfaces as they depend on the light reflecting the surfaces’ imperfections. The precision however is much improved from the ball mouse. Furthermore, less moving parts means more durability. The mouse really opened up the horizon for user interface navigation making it a key turning point in the history of input technologies.
The Keyboard
The keyboard has been for decades the main textual input device. In terms
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