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An introduction to computers and computer systems
An introduction to computers and computer systems

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4 Peripheral devices

A laptop with accessories including as headphones, a mouse and a USB stick.

In Session 1 you saw some input and output devices, also known as peripheral devices (or peripherals for short) that are connected to the computer. Peripherals are used to load data and programs into the computer and to get the results out again. These devices include keyboards, screens, mice, printers, disk drives, sound cards, video cards and cameras.

Activity 2

List as many input and output peripheral devices that you can think of. State whether each is a device for input, output or both.

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Here are some common input/output devices:

Device Input Output
screen   X
speakers   X
printers   X
touchscreen X X
interactive whiteboard X X
CD/DVD drive X X
external hard drive X X
virtual reality glasses X X
digital camera X  
webcam X  
scanner X  
keyboard X  
mouse X  
barcode reader X  
joystick X  
microphone X  
electronic stylus X  

As you saw in Session 1 early computers and most personal computers use keyboards for input and screens for output. However, those with limited manual dexterity might find it difficult to use a keyboard, and screens cannot be used by everyone with a visual impairment. You’ll learn more about this in the next section.