bar code reader
A reading tool that uses light to read universal product codes, inventory codes, and other codes created out of patterns of variable-width bars.
Blu-Ray (BD) drive
A drive that can read and write on optical media that hold up to 50 gigabytes on two layers.
cathode-ray tube (CRT) monitor
A computer display made from a large electronic vacuum tube, similar to the classic television display.
Compact disc—recordable, an optical disc you can write information on, but you cannot remove the information.
Compact disc—read-only memory, a type of optical disc that contains data that cannot be changed; CD-ROMs are commonly used to distribute commercial software programs.
A camera that captures images and stores them as bit patterns on disks or other digital storage media instead of using film.
dot matrix printer
A type of impact printer, which forms images by physically striking paper, ribbon, and print hammer together, the way a typewriter does.
A type of optical disc used to store and distribute video and other types of digital data. Depending on the context, DVD may stand for Digital Versatile Disc or Digital Video Disc.
A keyboard that places the keys at angles that allow your wrists to assume a more natural position while you type, potentially reducing the risk of repetitive-stress injuries.
The science of designing work environments that enable people and things to interact efficiently and safely.
facsimile (fax) machine
An output device capable of sending, in effect, a photocopy through a telephone line, allowing for fast and convenient transmission of information stored on paper.
A hardware peripheral that enables a computer to send onscreen documents to a receiving fax machine by translating the document into signals that can be sent over phone wires and decoded by the receiving fax machine.
A type of erasable memory chip used in cell phones, pagers, portable computers, and handheld computers, among other things.
A pressure-sensitive touch tablet used as a pointing device. The user presses on the tablet with a stylus.
handwriting recognition software
Software that translates the user's handwritten forms into ASCII characters.
A rigid, magnetically sensitive disk that spins rapidly and continuously inside the computer chassis or in a separate box attached to the computer housing. Used as a storage device.
A semitransparent display that allows you to view a computer image or data without looking away from a real-world scene.
To remove and replace peripheral devices without powering down the computer and peripherals. Some modern interface standards such as USB and FireWire allow hot swapping.
Printer that forms images by physically striking paper, ribbon, and print hammer together.
A nonimpact printer that sprays ink directly onto paper to produce printed text and graphic images.
Standards for ports and other connective technology agreed on by the hardware industry so devices made by one manufacturer can be attached to systems made by other companies.
Input device, similar to a typewriter keyboard, for entering data and commands into the computer.
A nonimpact printer that uses a laser beam to create patterns of electrical charges on a rotating drum. The charged patterns attract black toner and transfer it to paper as the drum rotates.
An impact printer used by mainframes to produce massive printouts. They print characters only, not graphics.
liquid crystal display (LCD)
Flat-panel displays, once primarily used for portable computers but now replacing bulkier CRT monitors for desktops.
A storage medium used with a tape drive to store large amounts of information in a small space at relatively low cost.
A handheld input device that, when moved around on a desktop or table, moves a pointer around the computer screen.
multifunction printer (MFP)
An all-in-one output device that usually combines a scanner, a laser or inkjet printer, and a fax modem.
Input device such as touch-sensitive screen, a touch tablet, or a trackpad that can recognize the position, pressure, and movement of more than one finger or hand at a time.
A design that allows expansion cards and peripherals to be added to a basic computer system.
optical character recognition (OCR) software
Software that locates and identifies printed characters embedded in images.
optical disc drive
A disk drive that uses laser beams to read and write bits of information on the surface of an optical disc.
optical mark reader
A reading device that uses reflected light to determine the location of pencil marks on standardized test answer sheets and similar forms.
A type of newer inkjet printer specially optimized to print high-quality photos captured with digital cameras and scanners.
An automated drawing tool that produces finely scaled drawings by moving a pen and/or paper in response to computer commands.
point-of-sale (POS) terminal
A terminal with a wand reader, barcode scanner, or other device that captures information at the check-out counter of a store.
Output device that produces a paper copy of any information that can be displayed on the screen.
radio frequency identification (RFID) reader
A reading tool that uses radio waves to communicate with RFID tags.
radio frequency identification (RFID) tag
A device that, when energized by a nearby RFID reader, broadcasts information to the reader for input into a computer.
A storage method that allows information retrieval without regard to the order in which it was recorded.
Conditions that result from repeating the same movements over long periods, such as keyboarding-induced carpal tunnel syndrome, a painful affliction of the wrist and hand.
A device that works without a screen by drawing pixels directly on the user's retina with a focused beam of light.
An input device that makes a digital representation of any printed image. See flatbed scanners, slide scanners, drum scanners, and sheet-fed scanners.
A device that enables digital machines to monitor a physical quantity of the analog world, such as temperature, humidity, or pressure, to provide data used in robotics, environmental climate control, and other applications.
A storage method that requires the user to retrieve information by zipping through it in the order in which it was recorded.
Storage, such as flash memory, with no moving parts. Solid-state storage is likely to replace disk storage in the future.
A circuit board that allows the PC to accept microphone input, play music and other sound through speakers or headphones, and process sound in a variety of ways.
A computer screen that includes a pointing device based on recognizing on-screen touch.
A small flat-panel pointing device that is sensitive to light pressure. The user moves the pointer by dragging a finger across the pad.
A pointing device that remains stationary while the user moves a protruding ball to control the pointer on the screen.
A brand name for a tiny joysticklike device embedded in the keyboard of a laptop computer.
USB flash drive
A portable storage device that stores data in flash memory and connects to a computer through a USB port. Also called thumb drives or jump drives.
USB (universal serial bus)
A data path standard that theoretically allows up to 126 devices, such as keyboards, digital cameras, and scanners, to be chained together from a single port.
A fast, low-energy, nonvolatile form of memory that can replace hard disks, flash memory, and DRAM.