Advancements in Peripherals1

Recent Developments in Computer Peripherals
Including an in-depth look at Multimedia Input Devices

A Report by
Mr Matthew James Smith

HNC BIT Year One


Title Page Number

Introduction Two

Section One -
Development in Peripherals Three

Section Two -
Multimedia Input Devices Five

Section Three -
An in-depth look Digital Cameras Six

The History of the Digital Camera Six

How Digital Cameras Work Seven

Conclusion Nine

Appendix / References Ten

Glossary Eleven


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

Fig One

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 commercially 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. I general the Printer has developed in four areas. It has made improvements in the quality of type, the speed in which it can print, the quality of graphics and the number of fonts now available.

Monitor (Display Screen)

Monitors a few years ago were usually monochrome, displaying only two colours. E.g. orange and black or green and black. Another type of “Old Style” monitor is a Grey Scale monitor. This type of monitor displays different shades of grey. These monitors are now used in the minority. Most of the Monitor used today are colour monitors, capable of displaying 16 to over one million different colours! There are a number of different types of colour monitor as shown in the table below.

Video Standard Resolution Simultaneous Colors
VGA (Video Graphics Array) 640 by 480 16
320 by 200 256
SVGA (Super Video Graphics Array) 800 by 600 16
1,024 by 768 256
1,280 by 1,024 256
1,600 by 1,200 256
XGA (Extended Graphics Array) 640 by 480 65,536
1,024 by 768 256

Input Devices


A mouse (Fig 2) is the device that controls the movement of the cursor or pointer on a display screen. The mouse has been around about 40 years. It was invented by Douglas Engelbart of Stanford Research Center in 1963, and pioneered by Xerox in the 1970s. The mouse is one of the great breakthroughs in computer ergonomics because it frees the user to a large extent from using the keyboard. In particular, the mouse is important for graphical user interfaces because you can simply point to options and objects and click a mouse button. Such applications are often called point-and-click programs. A significant advance in the use of the mouse is the cordless mouse. The mouse isn’t physically connected to the computer at all. Instead it relys on infrared or radio waves to communicate with the computer. Cordless mice are more expensive than normal mice, but it does eliminate the cord, which can sometimes get in the way. Other advances in mice have been


The keyboard is the most commonly used peripheral for inputting