Input Peripherals

When you use the computer, you are always also using different devices added to it. They are the peripherals . Without them it would be impossible for you to be able to use your PC.

At this point, you should know that there are what are called input peripherals and output peripherals , which depends on the function they carry out.

Both cases are considered communication peripherals, since basically these devices are used for the communication of the computer with the external environment , among which you are included as a user.

Computer peripherals are the element by which information is transferred from the outside to the inside, and vice versa. Ultimately, they are the only way to  enter instructions and get data from the computer.

What you will find here: Types of peripherals. What are input peripherals? Know each of the input peripherals. Basic concepts about output and mixed peripherals.

Computer input peripherals

What are input peripherals?

The  peripheral or input devices  are the components of the system responsible for providing data to the computer. Without them it would be impossible to use the computer.

Although over the years technology has evolved in an incredible way, the truth is that there is only one way to  communicate with a computer, through the input peripherals.

In short, the input peripherals are the elements that allow data  entry and manipulation , and therefore are irreplaceable, especially since we have become completely accustomed to their use.

Computer input peripherals

Regarding its essential characteristics , the input peripherals are:

  • Connective: They have been designed to allow connection with the central computer system, and must offer an experience according to its function.
  • Comfortable: In order that the user who interacts with the computer through them, can do so smoothly and intuitively.
  • Sensitive: They are designed to function as if they were an extension of our body, so their mission is to translate the instructions that we send to the computer.
  • Adaptable: The input peripherals evolve over the years. Look but what has happened with the rise of touchscreens that introduce digital keyboards and you no longer have to use a physical keyboard.

Desktop computer with peripherals

Join us now to learn about the characteristics of the main input devices or peripherals most popular and used around the world.

Keep in mind that each of them meets a series of conditions that allow you to enter data into the computer in different ways .

Types of input peripherals 

Generally speaking, peripherals fall into two main categories . There are input peripherals and output peripherals .

However, there is a third category . It includes all those devices that are capable of both displaying data from the computer and providing the possibility of entering them. They are called mixed or hybrid peripherals .

But in addition to this, in each case there is a subcategory , that is, if we talk about input peripherals , you will also find different types.

Keyboard: Input Peripheral

Let’s see what each of them are:

  • Pointer: This group is made up of the input peripherals whose central function is to point or point. In other words, they are used to specify a position in space. Pointing peripherals can be of two types:
  • Direct : They are those in which the entrance space coincides with the exhibition space. A clear example is the touch screens of your mobile or your tablet.
  • Indirect : They are those in which participation is indirect. The clearest example is the mouse.
  • Keyboard: Each of its keys allows you to enter data into the computer.
  • Composites: They include buttons and pushbuttons and joysticks in a single device. An example of them are video game devices.
  • High degree of freedom: They are those that combine different characteristics and functionalities. Examples of high-degree-of-freedom peripherals is the control of a camera angle in 3D applications, which are used in virtual reality.
  • Sound input peripherals: As the name implies, they are designed to capture sounds.
  • Image and video input peripherals: Those that allow capturing images and videos from outside to send them to the computer. An example of them are digital photo or video cameras.
  • Biometrics: They are those that work like a scanner and that allow the data entered to be analyzed and compared to identify the user. The clearest example is the fingerprint sensor.

Mobile phone fingerprint reader


The keyboard is undoubtedly the most important means of data entry , since it establishes a direct relationship between the user and the equipment.

Basically, a keyboard is a board on which a set of keys is arranged grouped in such a way  that a key represents a certain character.

Used in conjunction with the monitor it forms an input and output assembly .

Computer keyboard

The keyboard consists of keys similar to those of typewriters , having some peculiarities such as  shortcut keys .

These are special keys that can help us save steps to get to a certain place or run various applications .

Examples of shortcut keys are the keys to open the mail manager, the web browser or the file explorer, those numbered as F1 to F12 and the so-called  multimedia keys,  which allow us to activate the commands of the music or video player.

Keep in mind that keyboards can have  a Dvorak or Qwerty type key layout , the latter being the most widely used.

Until speech recognition systems are perfected, for the moment the keyboard is considered  the main input peripheral.

Mouse or mouse

It falls under the category of pointing devices.

In general, it is a small and ergonometric accessory, which includes two or three keys or buttons and a central wheel that is very useful for Internet browsing.

As you move on a flat surface, the movement produces an analogous movement of the cursor that appears on the screen.

Mouse: Input peripheral

Today you can find many types and models of mouse.  These include wireless, high-resolution “gamer” mice, and optical and laser mice, which use different types of technologies to achieve movement.

Also keep in mind that nowadays mouses do not use mechanical parts such as traction balls, which have been replaced by various sensors.

Image scanner or digitizer 

Capable of digitizing drawings and photographs, the scanner  enables captured images to be stored on the computer in digital format .

That is why it is an image digitizer, that is to say a data entry device, which allows the digitization of images from printed material such as magazines and newspapers.

Today you can also find  3D scanners  that allow you to take a photo from all angles of a physical object.

Furthermore, the  images produced by the scanner  can be modified and reproduced again by suitable printing equipment.

Image scanner or digitizer 

With this you can create on the computer posters or any other type of work using photographs that were scanned.

While scanners used to be marketed as a single device, today they can be found in  multifunction printers.

Joystick or Gamepad

A joystick is an  input peripheral that is generally used to command the actions of a game .

Using a joystick you can guide all the movements necessary to move the element you want to control on the game screen in any direction , be it up, down or to the left or right.

Joystick or Gamepad

Gesture recognition devices

Gesture recognition technology   allows you to control a device without the need to interact directly with mechanical means. In other words, you don’t need to use a mouse or keyboard.

Through gesture recognition, you can use your fingers to control a pointer to move across the screen and perform actions, without having to physically manipulate any lever or button.

Gesture recognition can be implemented using cameras, sensors, and software  that interprets the movements you make.

Gesture recognition devices

Optical pencil

The stylus is an input peripheral used as a data entry accessory for devices that use a touch screen. They are often used with mobile phones, tablets, digitizing tablets, and other devices.

One of its advantages resides in that it allows you to obtain a greater speed of introduction of information.

In addition, the stylus prevents users’ natural oils from permeating the screen, making it difficult to read.

Optical pencil

Basically,  the stylus works by replacing the natural electrical charge present in the user’s fingers , and for this the device has a conductive rubber at its end.


A webcam is an indispensable input peripheral these days . With it you can perform multiple tasks such as communicating, taking photos or monitoring a place.

The webcam basically a digital camera  like the one incorporated by various devices such as mobile phones and tablets, but in this case confined to a cabinet which you must connect to the computer through a USB connector.

Through the USB connection, not only is the path for data transmission established, but it also provides the camera with energy to function.


There are currently  two types of webcams:  webcams that connect to the PC and those that do not require a computer to function.

The latter use Wi-Fi or Ethernet connection for data transmission and obtain their energy from the electrical network. They are called  “Network Cameras” , which are used for observation and surveillance, due to their autonomous nature.


Fingerprint scanner

The fingerprint scanner is a  so-called “Biometric” input device. This allows you to analyze and compare a fingerprint by scanning it in order to identify a particular user.

The basic operation of this input peripheral is through  touch-sensitive biometric sensors  .

That is why they can be installed on all types of devices.

In recent years, fingerprint scanners have been incorporated into mobile phones and other devices to be  used to replace passwords and lock patterns.

Fingerprint scanner

Keep in mind that in addition to the advantage they offer of not having to enter a key to unlock the device, the fingerprint identification system is much more secure than passwords and patterns .

Barcode scanner or reader

Bar codes have been with us for years in many of the tasks we undertake every day.

You can find them in all kinds of products , from food to electronic devices. They are basically used for the identification of the same for the purposes of its commercialization or storage.

Please note that a barcode reader is required to read a barcode.

A code reader is an electronic device equipped with a laser sensor capable of reading and interpreting said code and supplying it to the system for its computation , that is, for a computer to perform the required function.

Despite being a technology that has its origins in the mid-1970s, it is still today the primary means of data collection and manipulation in most settings.

Barcode scanner or reader

There are currently several types of barcode scanners , the most popular being USB, Bluetooth, and WiFi.

The main four types of barcode scanners are:

  • Omnidirectional laser
  • Optical pencil
  • CCD (Charge Coupled Device)
  • Gun laser

Voice recognition system

Speech recognition technology is capable of digitizing the voice  allowing the computer to recognize and execute commands through the human voice .

Although it is a subject that is in constant development, at present it has a level of sophistication such that it can be used in some types of applications such as that implemented in various operating systems such as Windows, iOS and Android .

Cortana voice recognition system

Using voice recognition technology, you can interact with a device in  much the same way as if you were using common peripherals, since they allow you to enter text and execute complex commands .

Mixed peripherals: hybrids between input and output peripherals

The  mixed peripherals  are much more common than you think.

Basically it is a device that fulfills both roles, that is,  allowing data to enter and exit at the same time.

The best examples of mixed peripherals are:

Multifunction printers

These are the best example of a mixed peripheral, since they  allow data input through the scanner , and data output through the printer.

Multifunction printers

Keyboards and MIDI Devices

The  keyboards and MIDI controllers  are able to enter data into the computer which then transformed into instructions.

At the same time, they offer the possibility of receiving data in order to notify the user of different events.

Keyboards and MIDI Devices

Modems, routers and switches

This type of data communication devices, associated with computer networks, allow the reception and transmission of data.

What it does is  capture and order in the necessary addresses all the traffic that usually moves through a computer network  or Internet connection through the ISP.

For this reason they are considered as mixed peripherals.

Modems, routers and switches

External audio or video devices

Other very common examples of  mixed peripherals  are external audio or video cards.

These connect to your PC via USB, and allow you to receive and send data to and from the board.

External audio or video devices

Virtual reality glasses

Another common type of mixed peripheral is  Virtual Reality glasses or helmets.

With them you can move elements within this virtual world created by the lenses in the way you want.

In turn, you are receiving information about your environment through a screen.

Virtual reality glasses

Storage units

At this point it is necessary to clarify why we have not included the various storage devices such as  pendrives and hard drives as examples of mixed devices.

This is because although they are capable of receiving and sending information, they are only considered as storage units, since by nature the direction of data movement is incoming and outgoing.

Storage units

Medicine Devices

Among the various input peripherals that can be found today, beyond those used in the home environment, in design and other fields, one of the most developed today is undoubtedly those  input devices that they apply to the world of medicine.

Specifically, we refer to the  input peripherals that allow obtaining images for medical analysis and diagnosis , such as devices such as ultrasound, mammography, tomography or magnetic resonance imaging devices.

All these types of equipment, for their operation,  need to be connected to a computer, through which it is possible to capture and view the images of the patients on its screen .

In this way it is possible to carry out the medical analysis corresponding to an aspect of your health.

Ultrasound scanners

One of the entry peripherals of the medical field best known by almost everyone  is ultrasound scanners , which are frequently used to perform real-time ultrasound scans in the monitoring of pregnancies.

To do this, ultrasound machines  work through the ultrasound method, which allows capturing moving images  of what is happening inside a patient’s organ.

Ultrasound for diagnostic imaging

By connecting an ultrasound machine to a computer,  functioning as an external or peripheral input device , images are displayed on the screen that will allow the specialist to determine a medical diagnosis.


In the case of  mammograms , we can say that their operation is similar to that of ultrasound.

It also  uses a type of scanner to be able to obtain the images of the patient in such a way that they are later replicated on the computer screen.

This type of input peripheral uses the so-called  diagnostic X-ray image exploration  and is applied to the mammary glands, that is, through mammography it is possible to capture images of these glands to be  viewed on a computer screen  at the which is connected the mammograph in question.

Mammogram for diagnostic imaging

Magnetic resonator

Another of the frequently used input devices in the field of medicine is the  magnetic resonator .

Its use is so widespread mainly due to the fact that it is a truly non-invasive method, which  applies nuclear magnetic resonance to obtain information on the structure and composition of the object  that will be analyzed by specialists.

Generally used to be able to detect different types of alterations in internal tissues in patients, such as the early diagnosis of serious pathologies such as cancer,  magnetic resonance imaging allows an image to be obtained that can then be processed on computers for later visualization .

Magnetic Resonator for Imaging


Within the field of medicine, more specifically than what is known as medical imaging diagnosis,  another input peripheral widely used today is the well-known tomograph .

This allows images to be obtained  by sections or areas of the interior of  the patient’s body , generally used to perform a detailed scan of their brain.

Through the tomograph it is possible to  capture the necessary information that is then processed by the computer, where the so-called tomogram will be created , which is the image that has been prepared by the computer to be able to visualize the details of the scanned body.

Diagnostic Imaging CT

Today there are different types of computed tomography, we can even mention the so-called  polytomography, which is a tomography composed of several images  of different sections of the body or object to be analyzed.

Due to their excellent results in relation to visualization possibilities,  tomographies are used not only in the world of medicine,  but also in areas such as biology, geophysics, archeology, oceanography, among others.

The other side: The output peripherals

Note that if the input peripherals are for inputting data to the computer , then the output peripherals should do the opposite.

Precisely, the output peripherals are all those devices that allow  the output of data so that the user can have a record of what happens  or the result of their tasks directly in their hands.

Do you want to know more about the output peripherals? We recommend you read this complete report: Output Peripherals

The most popular output peripherals are:


The monitor is the device where the computer shows you the information .

It is connected to the video card of the computer.

Monitor: Output Peripheral


Printers, in any of their technologies, are used to print data .

With them you can have the work on paper or on the substrate that the printer uses.

Printer: Output Peripheral


Sound cards are also a very important output peripheral.

Through the speakers or headphones attached to the board you can listen to the product of your work or the various  notifications of the system.

Sound Card:: Output Peripheral

So far we have only mentioned the three main types of output peripherals.

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