Input Devices

1. Write down the names for the following devices.

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2. Listen to a technician talking about input devices and fill in the gaps with suitable words.

 Which of the decices from Exercise 1 is describing?

3. Read the following information on the way to describe technical features.

Describing functions

In the listening, the mouse was described using for + gerund:

This is a device for controlling the cursor and selecting items on the screen.

There are other ways of describing a device’s function:

  • used + to + infinitive It’s used to control
  • relative pronoun + verb This is a device which controls .. .
  • relative pronoun + used + to + infinitive 

This is a device which/that is used to control

  • work by + gerund

It works by detecting light from the computer screen.


Describing features

We can describe features like this:

An optical mouse has an optical sensor instead of a ball underneath.

It usually features two buttons and a wheel. You can connect it to a USB port.

A wireless mouse works/operates without cables.

It allows the user to answer multiple-choice questions and …

3.1. Study the information and present the following game controller using the knowledge.
















4. Read the information about keys on a keyboard and match then in the graph.

1. Cursor control keys include arrow keys that move the insertion point up, down, right and left, and keys such as End, Home, Page Up and Page Down, which are used in word processing to move around a long document.
2. Alphanumeric keys represent letters and numbers, as arranged on a typewriter.
3. Function keys appear at the top of the keyboard and can be programmed to do special tasks.
4. Dedicated keys are used to issue commands or to produce alternative characters, e.g. the Ctrl key or the Alt key.
5. A numeric keypad appears to the right of the main keyboard. The Num Lock key is used to switch from numbers to editing keys.

5. Read an introduction to the article and answer the questions.

When Bill Buxton worked at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center in the early 1990s, he examined the classic children’s homemade telephones: two cups connected by a taut string. He wondered why that same concept couldn’t improve computer keyboards.

Think about it. The cup is both a microphone and a speaker. It uses the same “hardware” for input and output of sound. Why, Buxton asked, couldn’t the same principle apply to text on computers — using a single device for both input and output of text rather than using input from a keyboard to produce output on a screen?

Buxton wasn’t alone in recognizing an eventual fusion of the two. Fast-forward a couple decades — and add myriad researchers and huge corporate R&D budgets — and we have touch-screen keyboards on tablets and smartphones. Inputs and outputs share the same surface. The keyboard has fused with the screen, at least for some computing tasks.

But as anyone who’s typed on a virtual keyboard – or yelled at a voice-control app like Siri — can attest, no current text input holds a candle to a traditional computer keyboard when it comes to comfort, speed and accuracy. Maybe eventually we’ll connect computers to our neurons, but in the meantime, the simple yet highly functional electromechanical keyboard will be around — and keep improving — for some time.

Buxton, now a design guru at Microsoft Research, still closely examines old keyboards for forgotten tricks and technologies that could spawn new ways of thinking about how we enter information into a computer.

“Many of the great discoveries are right under our noses,” he says when discussing the future of the keyboard. “A lot of the stuff that’s emerging as new is rooted in things that have happened in the past — and in some cases the really distant past.”

Before we look at where computer keyboards might go in the future, then, let’s look at where they’ve been.

6. Read the whole article.

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