A computer input device is any device that allows information to be entered into a computer by typing, selecting, importing or downloading. Typical examples are the keyboard and mouse which are the most popular input devices.
Others input devices include touchpads often built into laptop computers and perform the same function as the mouse. A touchpad senses the movement of a fingertip being dragged across it and moves the mouse pointer on the screen accordingly. A graphics tablet is a touch sensitive pad, which is used with a light pen to allow freehand drawing or writing to be entered into the computer in digitized format.
Joysticks can be used to perform quick and effective manoeuvres when playing games on a computer.
Scanners allow printed material to be converted into digitized formats suitable for importing into appropriate application software. To import printed text into a computer via a scanner, special applications software known as Optical Character Recognition software (OCR) is required. This allows hard copy text to be converted into text files within word processing applications.
Digital cameras store photographic images in digital formats. These images can then be downloaded processed, formatted or downloaded onto a computer.
A Microphone used with voice recognition software allows speech to be converted into text. An operator speaks into a microphone linked to a computer and appropriate software is able to translate the audio signals into digitised text. This has implications for the visually or physically impaired.
A Touch sensitive screen allows one to select items by touching and dragging. A device using touch sensitive screen does not need a keyboard or mousse.
A Sensor is an input device that detects quantities such as temperature, light, etc and converts to an electric signal that can be converted to digital signals and then analyzed by a computer.