Peripheral Devices

A Peripheral device is any external device attached to a computer. Without Peripherals a computer is just a box full of wires, transistors and circuits, which is able to: -

1. Respond to a specific set of instructions in a well-defined manner.

2. Execute a prerecorded list of instructions (a program).

The only problem being that without any input Peripherals you cannot tell the computer to do any of the above processes, and if you could, without an output device of some kind, the computer has no way of delivering the result to the user!

Examples of peripherals include printers, disk drives, display monitors, keyboards, and mice etc.

These can be separated into two categories: -

Input devices

An input device is any machine that feeds data into a computer. For example, a keyboard is an input device. Input devices other than the keyboard are sometimes called alternate input devices. Mice, trackballs, and light pens are all alternate input devices.

Output devices

An output device is any machine capable of representing information from a computer. This includes display screens, printers, plotters, and synthesizers.


Central Processing Unit

Section One

Developments in Peripherals in the Last Few Years

There have been many advances in the field of Peripherals over the last few years. Even the humble keyboard and mouse have been re-invented to produce the Ergonomic keyboard and the cordless and laser mouse. There have also been advances in monitors such as flat screen displays and LCD screens.

But there have also been advances in technology, which although not new, have been made available for home use such as the digital camera, scanners, digital video camera and the colour printer.

To look at some of the advances in detail we should put them into their categories.

Output Devices


Printers have developed from the daisy wheel printer to the thermal printers of today. Other advancement in printers have been the laser printer (Same technology as photocopiers) which is used commonly in offices as it produces very high quality text and graphics

Voice recognition